Molalla: Economic belt tightening writing is on the wall

Forget about expanding Portland’s economic pie anytime soon. A new report predicts the metro area must wait until mid 2014 just to recover the number of jobs it had before the recession.” – Oregonian ‘Oregon Cities from Portland to Bend will Take Years to Recover Lost Jobs’ (posted below)

It’s ONLY a grant – Molalla’s fake ‘planning director’ Potter when confronted in public about the massive cost of failed ‘plans’.

Let’s hope that all the rah rah, “we’re growing”, bullish on Molalla baloney will stop and that someone – ANYONE – will step forward in Molalla to be a financial voice of reason.

The only “bullish” thing Molalla has to look forward to is the torture of animals at the coming Buckeroo Animal Abuse Festival. Beyond that, the ‘powers that be’ in the failed city  are LONG overdue for a dose of reality!

Molalla has frittered away its future – WASTED far more than a million dollars – on bogus growth plans. I fear that there are many who still cling to the debunked growth ideas.

There has NEVER been any honest effort to acknowledge problems and prioritize solutions. Witness the overblown parks plan and the gazebo project which ISN’T EVEN IN THE $88,000 professional plans!

Witness the failure to heed the city road project priority list in the $122,000 Downtown Master Plan, done by professionals via a public money grant in 2007 – and NEVER COMPLETELY ADOPTED, let alone followed. You know: the one that fake ‘planner’ Potter assured us was “only a grant”. That has been the hallmark of 5 years of struggle in Molalla – the idea that public money is ‘ONLY’ something to be wasted at the whim of uninformed – or worse – greedy good old boys out for private gain.

Will the city council be smart enough – and respectful enough – of the HIGHLY LIMITED future public money to start to take a realistic look at how to immediately conserve what’s left?

Will the city council be strong enough to resist any feel good golden parachutes for an incompetent ‘guy’ who said “it’s ONLY a GRANT” when confronted about the abject WASTE of public funds?

Will anyone demand accountability and transparency – like the prompt posting of all city minutes?

Will the council be smart enough to not risk limited funds on speculative residential or commercial ventures when it is apparent that there is nothing to be bullish about? Or will they squander what they have left to give away a million dollars in vital SDCs?

Or will Molalla pretend it is on an expansionist course and just march further into the land of Urban Decay?

Stay tuned, the next few months are critical – I sure do hope that someone starts to read the recession/depression writing on the wall, starting with this article:

Oregon cities from Portland to Bend will take years to recover lost jobs

Published: Monday, June 20, 2011, 7:50 PM     Updated: Tuesday, June 21, 2011, 12:07 PM
Richard Read, The Oregonian By Richard Read, The Oregonian The Oregonian
Jamie Francis, The OregonianCarpenter Mike Bottom works on a Portland building last year. A report released Monday said metropolitan areas eclipse rural regions in economic clout and will have to lead the nation’s gradual recovery from recession.

Forget about expanding Portland’s economic pie anytime soon. A new report predicts the metro area must wait until mid 2014 just to recover the number of jobs it had before the recession.

Corvallis will do better, returning to pre-recession peak employment in 2013, according to the report Monday by IHS Global Insight, an economic forecasting firm. Medford will take until 2018 and Eugene-Springfield until 2019, the report said.

Metro Bend? Oregon’s poster city for the housing bubble won’t stage a jobs comeback until “beyond 2021,” the forecasters said. They see double-digit unemployment gripping Deschutes County through 2013.

The national report came out the same day Portland received encouraging news. The Portland area’s jobless rate fell to 8.8 percent in May, seasonally adjusted, down from 9.1 percent in April.

jobs.stats.jpgView full sizeThe OregonianEmployment Statistics

Economists say U.S. cities must keep making that kind of progress to pull the nation back to employment levels enjoyed before December 2007, when the recession began. Rural areas lack sufficient economic clout, they say, and cities such as Bend that fell hard when the bubble burst could remain mired indefinitely.

“What I’m seeing people doing is move,” said William Valentine, an investment manager in Bend, the Central Oregon outdoor-recreation mecca. “The guy from California who always wanted to dabble in real estate, he’s packing up and leaving.”

The picture emerging from state and national economic reports released Monday shows a longer recovery than usual after a recession. Rising gas prices, disruption from Japan’s disasters and fallout from extreme U.S. weather have slowed momentum, although not enough, economists believe, to drag the United States back into recession.

“There’s no sign of a fast recovery,” said Jim Diffley, IHS Global Insight’s chief regional economist. “The depth of the recession was so great.”

The urban emphasis of the IHS Global study could be expected, given that the Massachusetts-based company prepared the report for the U.S. Conference of Mayors and The Council for the New American City. But the numbers make a strong case for the dominant economic role of cities.

Metro regions account for 86 percent of Oregon’s gross state product, led by the Portland-Vancouver area at 62 percent, the report said. In Washington, the urban effect is even greater, accounting for 94 percent of the state’s economic activity, led by Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue at 68 percent.

Economic output of nations and metro areas
Ranked in billions of dollars for 2010; figures selected from IHS Global Insight’s report:
1. United States 14,660
2. China 5,877
13. New York 1,283
14. Australia 1,233
18. Los Angeles 738
19. Turkey 732
21. Chicago 531
22. Switzerland 523
37. San Francisco 337
49. Seattle 231
50. Portugal 229
78. Portland 123
84. Vietnam 106
267. Salem 12.9
269. Iceland 12.6
278. Eugene-Springfield 11.8
281. Cambodia 11.5
374. Medford 6.3
377. Bend 6.2
394. Rwanda 5.6
Source: U.S. Metro Economies Report

Given such concentrations, the authors argue, metropolitan areas are the engines capable of driving the nation back from the recession that officially ended in June 2009.

Oregon’s metro areas must dig out of deep holes, however. Greater Portland’s employment fell by 82,500 jobs from its pre-recession peak, the authors said. Eugene-Springfield lost 18,000 jobs. Metro Bend lost 11,800 – more than 16 percent of its jobs.

Global Insight predicts unemployment in the Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro area will take until 2013 to reach an annual 7.5 percent rate, down from 10.5 percent in 2010.

Bend will remain saddled with 10.2 percent unemployment in 2013, Global Insight expects, down from 14.8 percent last year.

“The new thing in Bend is to hire consultants,” Valentine said. “They come with ideas and they put action teams into place. I’m just not a huge believer that that’s how economies work.”

Yet Bend has green shoots. A company named G5, founded in 2005, helps mid-market companies attract customers on-line. The Web site for G5, led by co-founder Dan Hobin, lists more than 100 employees, 20 of whom, in classic Bend style, bike to work in rain, sleet or snow.

Oregon data released Monday show Bend added almost 500 jobs in May. Seasonally adjusted unemployment in Deschutes County, which makes up the Bend metro area, remained lodged in May at 12 percent, down a smidge from April’s 12.1 percent.

Greater Portland’s decline from 9.1 percent unemployment to 8.8 percent in May was remarkable for bringing the metro area beneath the nation’s 9.1 percent level. Oregon unemployment slid from 9.5 percent in April to 9.3 percent in May.

In yet another economic report released Monday, Oregon officials said 19 percent of employers contacted in a recent survey expected to increase employment during the next six months. That’s up from 12 percent of employers polled last fall.

Nick Beleiciks, an Oregon Employment Department economist, finds such intentions encouraging. But companies do tend to hire more during summers, which could explain some of the increase.

Richard Read Twitter: @ReadOregonian

© 2011 All rights reserved.

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