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Manufacturing Day Webinar to Focus on Policy, Roadshow

Join OBI on Friday, Oct. 7 for a webinar marking Manufacturing Day. The webinar will examine the importance of this large and varied industry sector in Oregon. It will recap OBI’s inaugural Manufacturing and Innovation Roadshow, which visited two dozen manufacturers in August during a journey that touched almost all parts of the state. It will feature a panel of manufacturing leaders, who will discuss the challenges of the past two years and reflect on successes. Finally, the webinar will examine a handful of legislative and administrative changes that would address some of the challenges faced by manufacturers and other employers.

The webinar will run from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Go here to register.


Nov. 1 Webinar to Discuss Future Ready Oregon Progress

The Oregon Legislature this year passed Gov. Kate Brown’s Future Ready Oregon plan, a $200 million initiative to prepare Oregonians for jobs in health care, manufacturing and technology. The state Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) oversees the expenditure of much of this money and works with the state Bureau of Labor and Industries and employment department to collect data on effectiveness.

So how has implementation been going, and how can businesses engage with this program? Join HECC Executive Director Ben Cannon and Future Ready Oregon Director Jennifer Purcell on Tuesday, Nov. 1 for a discussion.

The webinar will run from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.

Go here to register.


OBI Board Vice Chair Lori Olund Named to NAM Board

OBI Board Vice Chair Lori Olund has been named to the board of the National Association of Manufacturers. The largest industrial trade association in the United States, with more than 14,000 members, NAM engages in policy advocacy and pursues workforce solutions on behalf of manufacturers.

Lori is president of Clackamas-based Miles Fiberglass & Composites, a family owned corporation with 93,000 square feet of manufacturing space. Miles Fiberglass & Composites makes components used in a wide variety of industries. Its products can be found in refrigerated railcars, telecommunications systems, RVs and more.

If you’d like to learn more about Miles Fiberglass & Composites, check out a profile of the company on OBI’s website.


Notable News 

Universal Health Care: The Lund Report notes the opposition of OBI and other organizations to a universal health care program described in a draft report released Sept. 12 by a legislative task force (see task force and rulemaking item below).

Jobs Recovered: Oregon has regained all of the 282,000 jobs lost to the COVID pandemic recession, The Oregonian reports. Regaining the jobs required 30 months, far fewer than the 82 needed to recover from the recession that began in 2007.

Unemployment Up: Oregon’s unemployment rate rose in August for the first time in 29 months, the Portland Business Journal reports. The rate rose to 3.7% in August, from 3.5% in July.

Manufacturing and Renewable Energy: Portland-based manufacturer Precision Castparts will anchor a Virginia industrial park powered by renewable energy, according to The Associated Press. Precision Castparts will manufacture titanium products for aerospace and other industries. Both the industrial park and Precision Castparts are owned by Berkshire Hathaway.

Rail Strike Averted: The Biden administration struck a tentative deal Sept. 15 to avert a railway strike that would have disrupted the U.S. economy, Reuters reports. Union members must ratify the agreement.

Coal Stack Falls: Contractors for Portland General Electric demolished the 656-foot-tall stack and boiler at the Boardman Coal Plant Sept. 15, The Oregonian reports. The Boardman plant, shuttered in 2020, was the state’s last coal-fired generation facility.


Interim Task Force and Rulemaking Update

Legislative Days: Legislative committees will meet next week to conduct informational hearings in anticipation of the 2023 session. Notable hearings will involve property taxation, Interstate 5 bridge replacement and barriers to housing development. Meanwhile, the newly formed House Economic Development and Small Business Committee is expected to discuss the report of the Oregon Semiconductor Competitiveness Task Force as well as Oregon’s sports economy and broadband issues. A Sept. 23 issue of Capitol Connect will recap significant discussions.

Income Tax Fix: The Portland Revenue Division is developing a fix for a tax-filing problem faced by many employers in the Portland metro area. Because local business taxes do not adhere to a single set of rules for determining income, filing taxes is often burdensome and unnecessarily expensive. OBI and other organizations have urged regional governments to make local taxes uniform, ideally mirroring the state’s rules for personal and corporate income taxes. Together with several other organizations, OBI has submitted comment in response to Portland’s worthwhile effort. Ultimately, Portland, Multnomah County and Metro will need to vote on the proposal.

Retail Crime: OBI and partner organizations this month announced the formation of a task force to combat organized retail crime, which has become a dire problem for retailers in the state. The phenomenon involves highly organized groups of people committing theft on a broad scale. The Organized Retail Crime Task Force will bring together the state attorney general, district attorneys, law enforcement agencies, unions and retailers to identify common problems, share information and identify organized criminal networks. The task force will meet monthly beginning Sept. 20. A similar effort is underway in Washington state.

Universal Health Care: The Joint Task Force on Universal Health Care has released its final report. The 2019 Legislature established the task force to recommend a design for a universal health care system. The final report proposes a bill for the 2023 legislative session that would establish a governing board to complete an implementation plan, which the 2025 Legislature would consider. The proposal effectively would eliminate commercial health insurance in Oregon, including related jobs. Funding it would involve $20 billion annually in new or increased personal income and payroll taxes. Its prospects are highly uncertain.

Development Rules: The Land Conservation and Development Commission has published the final Climate Friendly and Equitable Communities (CFEC) rules, and several cities have moved to challenge them in court. CFEC is one component of Gov. Brown’s executive order 20-04 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The rules create areas where personal vehicles are prohibited; prioritize spending on bicycle, pedestrian and transit infrastructure; and limit personal vehicle use by restricting parking associated with new developments. The rules also restrict commercial development to limit “auto-dependent uses” like drive-throughs and freight loading areas. The rules are expected to increase cities’ planning costs by millions of dollars and hamstring development.

Recycling Modernization: The rulemaking advisory committee (RAC) implementing the 2021 Recycling Modernization Act will meet for the second time Sept. 28 at 9 a.m. To watch the meeting, register here. Paloma Sparks represents OBI members on the RAC. Meanwhile, a technical workgroup has been formed to determine which items will be on the statewide collection list and how other items might be recyclable. These two committees, as well as a broader Recycling System Advisory Council, cover many of the same issues and engage in similar discussions. The Recycling Modernization Act requires all producers to belong to a Producer Responsibility Organization, and the rules currently under development will cover such issues as materials, recycling needs, local government costs, and producer fees. California recently adopted a similar law, which OBI is reviewing to identify areas of misalignment between the two states.

Employment Department System: The Oregon Employment Department this month launched a platform, dubbed Frances Online, to serve employers. Employers can use the online portal to communicate securely with department staff, monitor the status of claims and review previously submitted information. Employers also can use the portal to apply for equivalent plans that meet the requirements of the state’s paid family and medical leave insurance program, Paid Leave Oregon. To use the platform, employers will have to create an account.


Member Profile: International Housing Concepts

International Housing Concepts has turned the “tiny house” concept into a rapidly growing business that produces as many as four homes per week from its Salem manufacturing facility. It serves both high-end and affordable markets, employs more than 60 people in downtown Salem, and its diverse workforce features both skilled labor and people new to construction.

Read more about this company, its plans and the market it serves on OBI’s website.


SAIF Declares $75 Million Dividend

SAIF, Oregon’s workers’ compensation insurance company, declared a $75 million dividend for policyholders on Sept. 14. According to a press release, the dividend will be distributed to policyholders in October based on their premium for policies whose term ended in 2021.

Small businesses in Oregon may be eligible for discounts on workers’ compensation insurance through OBI’s CompSAFE program.

More information about the dividend-distribution process can be found here.


Member News

City of Roses: City of Roses Disposal & Recycling, 2021 winner of the Oregon Visionary Award, has entered into a multiyear agreement to serve as the official waste and recycling partner for Providence Park, Portland Timbers & Thorns FC.


Watch Recent Webinars

Paid Leave Oregon Webinars
OBI has held three webinars so far on the Paid Leave Oregon program, which will become effective in 2023. Additional webinars will occur as program development continues. Previous webinars:

  • Program Overview: A webinar providing an overview of the program has been offered twice. Watch the June 22 webinar here and the July 14 overview here.
  • Equivalent Plans Overview: A webinar providing an overview of program rules governing equivalent plans can be found here.

Managing Claims Costs with Return to Work Services
Watch a recording here.
Experts with SAIF explained how employers can manage the post-injury process, get their employees back to work and mitigate claim costs using the Return to Work services team at SAIF and the Employer-at-Injury and Preferred Worker Program benefits. The webinar was offered through OBI’s CompSAFE program.

OSHA Heat and Smoke Rules
Watch a recording here.
Experts with Oregon OSHA provided an overview of the recently adopted heat and smoke rules and answered questions from OBI members.

Union Organizing Dos and Don’ts
Watch a recording here.
Attorney Nicole Elgin with Barran Liebman LLP explained what managers and supervisors should know, do and not do when confronted by a union organizing drive.

Oregon Business Plan Update
Watch a recording here.
Oregon Business Council President Duncan Wyse delivered a midyear progress report on the Oregon Business Plan and answered questions from webinar participants.

Student Success Act Implementation
Watch a recording here.
Officials with the Oregon Department of Education joined OBI to discuss the implementation of the 2019 Student Success Act, which generates roughly $1 billion per year for education through the state’s corporate activity tax.