December 09, 2010

PORTLAND, Ore., Dec. 9, 2010 — Today regional economic development organizations Greenlight Greater Portland and Portland Vancouver Regional Partners endorsed a letter of intent to merge the two organizations. The positive vote is a significant step toward the creation of a public-private Portland-Vancouver regional economic development entity.

Since Greenlight’s creation three years ago, the two agencies have had parallel economic development missions and agendas, but the diffusion of resources has precluded the organizations’ ability to capitalize on one another’s efforts. The proposed combining of forces will provide a major impetus for addressing the region’s challenges with job preservation, creation and growth.

The new economic development corporation will drive a strategy around traded-sector industry growth and high-skill, high-wage job creation and retention.

“Our community deserves the best we can put forward,” says Greenlight Greater Portland Board Chair Mark Ganz. “This merger aims to deliver excellence in economic research and strategy, business development, marketing, and networking and best practices. As a founder of Greenlight, I’m pleased that we’ve achieved this critical milestone.”

Erin Flynn, chair of Regional Partners and Urban Development director of the Portland Development Commission says, “This vote is testament to our regional leadership being willing to come together to create a common economic development strategy during a difficult economic time. We look forward to collaborating.”

A launch team of public and private-sector leaders will begin work immediately to develop organizational bylaws and create a transition plan, with the expectation that the two organizations’ boards will make a final vote on the merged entity in spring 2011.

Portland Mayor Sam Adams says, “This merger creates the strongest public-private economic development partnership our region has ever seen. This regional effort couldn’t be happening at a more critical time. With this new partnership, we will be more effective in our collective economic development efforts, which are aimed at marketing this region’s strengths, creating jobs, and helping businesses succeed.”

Mayor Jerry Willey of City of Hillsboro adds, “We need to work smarter and don’t have the time or resources to duplicate efforts or fail to cooperate. Given the economic straits we’re in, there’s never been a better time to align goals and work together. Investors and prospects view us as a region- not as a series of potential individual investment sites.”