Candidates for Clackamas County Commission District 3

A questionnaire was sent to candidates in the Portland-metro region, and below are the responses in regard to issues that are important to the Alliance and the business community.

* indicates Alliance endorsed candidate.

1. The Allianceís primary focus for the 2016 election cycle will be to support those candidates and ballot measure proponents who clearly and publicly join us in opposing IP 28, the gross receipts tax measure, which will be so detrimental to Oregonís economy. What is your position on IP28?
Martha Schrader* Governance by initiative reduces what should be a deliberative, thoughtful process to nothing but a series of political soundbites informed by push polls. Any attempt at tax reform must be an inclusive process that includes our progressive business community and our elected officials. As a County Commissioner I know that policy, including tax policy, is best crafted when a diverse group of stakeholders (i.e. our Governor and state leaders) gather to solve the fiscal issues facing business and government. I support the Oregon Business Councilís framework that would look at the revenue forecast for the next decade, line it up with expenditures (including PERS and Medicaid liabilities), set goals for education achievement, and develop a plan for revenue increases as well as cost savings that would help our long term education goals. As written, IP 28 would hurt businesses with low profit margins; represents the largest tax increase in Oregon history; would hurt new start-ups; would disrupt the business supply chain; and produce higher prices for consumer items.
2. Portland State University (PSU), part of the stateís higher education system, is considering a tax on payroll within the Portland region that they project will raise between $30 and $70 million to support PSU. What is your view on a potential regional payroll tax on employers to fund PSU?
Martha Schrader*/font> The timing could not be worse. I am also aware that the Portland Business Alliance is questioning the legality of the measure. At this time I would not support. I would suggest a process similar to the one outlined above. It is important that we support Portland Stateís continued leadership as our premiere urban university.
3. The Value of Jobs Coalition's 2015 Middle-Income Jobs Report found that Portland-metro, like most of the nation, has seen low- and high-income jobs account for increasingly larger shares of the regionís overall employment base, while middle-income jobs, as a share of the regionís total employment, have dropped from 69 percent in 1980 to 57 percent in 2013. What would you do to increase the number of middle-income jobs in our region?
Martha Schrader* Under my leadership Clackamas County developed a robust economic development department focused on retention, expansion and recruitment of both traded sector and smaller community businesses. We have analyzed our strengths sector by sector,; generated an analysis of where most County wealth is generated (I.e. Kruse Way, Business Services) and provided a road map for expansion and retention of all of our key traded sectors. To build family wage jobs and prosperity for the middle class we also utilize economic development tools from our toolbox (i.e. Enterprise zones) that outline job benchmarks as well as wage expectations. For an extensive overview of our economic development activities and our efforts to grow middle income jobs please visit our business and economic development website.
4. The same Middle Income Jobs Report found that Portland-metroís housing prices are becoming increasingly out of reach not only for low-income households, but also for middle-income households. What would you do to address housing affordability for middle-income residents and do you think this is a regional issue or a local issue?
Martha Schrader* Housing affordability is not just a regional issue, it is a statewide issue. Iíve recently been appointed by the Association of Oregon Counties (AOC) to co-chair a statewide County Assessment of affordable housing, workforce housing, and low-income housing. Much like the housing affordability study in the Portland-METRO area, weíd like to get a snapshot of housing analytics across the state. In the region we need to look at extant laws and regulations that impact housing costs, particularly the availability of land. Certainly, land availability or the lack thereof, causes upward pressure on housing costs. So, an expansion of the urban growth boundary (UGB) would ostensibly dampen that effect. I would encourage METRO to consider a UGB expansion within the next three years.
5. The 2015 Economic Impacts of Congestion report shows that the Portland-region and the state of Oregonís competitiveness is largely dependent on efficient transportation. Failure to adequately invest in the system could cost the Portland-metro region $822 million annually by 2040 and close to 6,000 jobs. Do you support investments in the transportation system to support freight movement and remove bottlenecks to the efficient movement of goods and people?
Martha Schrader* I absolutely support investments in our transportation system. In particular, Clackamas County and our partners are completing Phase I of the Sunrise Corridor, promoting freight mobility and growth in east Clackamas County. Likewise, working with our federal delegation, weíve elevated the status of the I-205 corridor as a transportation artery of key significance. At this time a portion of I-205 is a high priority freight corridor through the 2015 Fixing Americaís Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act).
6. A 2013 report International Trade and the Portland Harborís Impact, found that Portland ranked 4th among the largest 100 metros in terms of export value as a share of metro output. Additionally, the report found that 90 percent of exports are small and medium sized businesses and that trade related jobs provide premium wages. What is your view on the role of trade to our economy and what can the city do to promote trade given international gateway facilities within the city?
Martha Schrader* Our Clackamas County Business and Economic Development Team recognizes the importance of export activity to our local economy. To that end, weíve identified Clackamas County businesses that are already engaged in exporting; participate in the Metro export initiative; partner with agencies such as the Port of Portland, Portland U.S. Export Assistance Center; U.S. Department of Commerce; and the Small Business Development Center; and have an Exporting Clackamas County webpage with links to We are also participating in the Pacific Northwest Manufacturing Partnership (PMNP) advancing a wood manufacturing study featuring cross laminated timber (CLT). Our long term goal is to develop a supply chain for CLT here in Oregon.
7. The Alliance is committed to ensuring an adequate supply of shovel ready industrial lands in the Portland-metro region to support job retention and growth. Manufacturing, in particular, requires industrial land and provides higher wages and better benefits than non-manufacturing jobs, particularly for non-whites and non-English-speaking workers. What tools and strategies would you use to promote adequate employment industrial lands that are shovel ready for development?
Martha Schrader* Our County has developed an employment land pipeline that determines what is shovel ready acreage, and has an Employment Lands Asset Mapping System that gives access to a database of available commercial and industrial lands throughout the County. It is a mapping tool that allows businesses and managers, site selectors and recruiters to search for available land and building sites. Likewise, weíve initiative a comprehensive study that indicates we have an overall shortage of 1,100 acres of industrial land.
8. How would you work with other jurisdictional partners to achieve mutual interests? How would you participate in regional coalition building?
Martha Schrader* I believe that regional coalition building takes patience, persistence and data. I prefer to rely on analytics to make my point in a reasonable and straightforward manner. Professionalism, the ability to listen and compromise, and the ability to reach across ďany and all aislesĒ makes mutual compromise possible. Iíve mentioned before that my friend and mentor Tom Brian was an inspiration to me, as he guided Washington County to prosperity. I also believe that going directly to the business community for their thoughts and perspectives has enabled me to be successful as a Commissioner.