Shaping the future of East Metro
through economic advocacy.

  • May 05, 2016 5:12 PM | Jarvez Hall (Administrator)

    The East Metro Economic Alliance has officially joined the Coalition to Defeat the Tax on Oregon Sales. A coalition committed to defeat IP 28, an initiative proposed on the November 2016 statewide ballot. We implore or members, stakeholders and communities to join us and vote no on IP 28 come November. 

    IP 28 would impose more than $5 Billion in new taxes on Oregon sales of large employers and many companies doing business in our state --- the largest increase in state history.

    Because the new tax would be on sales --- not profits --- companies would be required to pay the tax if they are making small profits, or even if they are losing money.

    Oregon consumers, as well as small businesses, should be very concerned about this costly and damaging proposal. IP 28 would create huge new taxes on many products sold in Oregon, as well as on services provided by Oregon employers, even if those services are sold around the world.

    The non-partisan Legislative Revenue Office has estimated that IP 28 would increase taxes by more than $5 Billion per two-year budget cycle – by far the largest tax increase in our state’s history.

    Despite proponents’ claims, this unprecedented new tax would increase costs for working families and consumers and would hurt businesses in our state without any guarantee the money would make it into our classrooms or help our schools. That’s because all of the money from this measure goes to the General Fund with no plan and no accountability for how IP 28’s billions in new taxes would be spent.

    We feel this measure is contrary to economic development and contrary to the EMEA mission of promoting economic vitality in our region. 

    To learn more about IP 28, click on the Recent Articles link.


  • February 25, 2016 1:54 PM | Jarvez Hall (Administrator)

    To:            Oregon State Legislators

    From:       Jarvez D. Hall, Executive Director, East Metro Economic Alliance

    Date:       January 29, 2016

    Re:            Support HB 4036 |Oregon Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Plan


    The East Metro Economic Alliance (EMEA) is a non-profit organization comprised of area businesses, chambers of commerce, nonprofits and public entities working together to shape the future of East Metro through economic advocacy. We join other advocates, utilities, environmental groups and energy developers in supporting HB 4036 – legislation that will put Oregon on track toward meeting its goals for reducing greenhouse gas emission while maintaining our state’s high standards for electricity service.

    HB 4036 would move Portland General Electric and Pacific Power off coal-generated electricity and double their renewable energy generation – all while maintaining the reliable and affordable electricity that is key to our state and local economies.

    One of our goals for 2016 is to endorse and advocate for smart legislative compromises to issues of vital importance. This legislation also avoids a contentious campaign in November on a ballot measure that lacks key consumer and reliability protections and would cost PGE customers up to $360 million more than HB 4036.  Environmental advocates have agreed to withdraw November ballot measure efforts if – and only if – this legislation is passed in the 2016 session and we implore you to play a role in ensuring it does. A broad coalition came together to create HB 4036 – a better, smarter approach to achieving the end goals of the proposed ballot measure. We applaud this coalition for working together for Oregon’s energy future.

    HB 4036 includes several provisions that are essential to a healthy economy and environment in Oregon.

    • It increases renewable generation to 50%, while protecting customers from major price increases. Under the proposed legislation, PGE and Pacific Power customers will commit to doubling their Renewable Portfolio Standard to 50% by 2040, while customers remain protected by the existing 4% incremental cost cap. This protects families, small businesses and large employers from seeing unpredictable rate increases.
    • It moves Oregon toward a coal-free future, requiring that electricity for PGE and Pacific Power customers be coal-free by 2030 (with an exception for PGE’s minority share of Colstrip, to 2035.)
    • It allows PGE and Pacific Power to maintain reliability. Employers and residents count on reliable electrical service. It is essential to the jobs they do and the lives they lead. Unlike the proposed ballot measure, the Oregon Public Utility Commission can temporarily suspend RPS requirements under the proposed legislation if meeting the requirement would conflict with grid reliability.
    • It creates an incentive for PGE and Pacific Power to take early action on meeting the RPS by improving the Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) program. The ballot measure structured the RECs in a way that does not work in the real-world market. HB 4036 provides an incentive for the two utilities to take early action on meeting the RPS and gives them flexibility to protect customers from rate increases in the future.

    In addition, this bill reaffirms the state’s commitment to energy efficiency programs, encourages transportation electrification, and increases access to solar resources for more Oregon electricity customers, including low-income residents – all provisions that are not included in the proposed ballot measure.

    We believe this smart and thoughtful policy will help Oregon maintain its national leadership in clean energy and create a healthier climate while remaining competitive in attracting quality employers and building a stronger economy. We urge your support.


  • July 24, 2015 11:06 AM | Jarvez Hall (Administrator)

    A core component in economic development and a priority for East Metro Economic Alliance and its members is to continuously improve K-12 educational outcomes. Up-to-date facilities are necessary to achieve excellent educational results. The current facilities are beyond their useful lives and as a community we have an obligation to provide proper buildings for our schools. The bond measure would maintain the 2014 tax rate. We encourage our members to support ballot measure 26-164. Please join us in voting YES on Measure 26-164. For details on the measure see the Reynolds web site,

  • July 24, 2015 11:05 AM | Jarvez Hall (Administrator)

    HB 2652 will correct the definition of rural and urban for SIP property tax purposes, leveling the playing field between properties within the UGB prior to 2002 (east-side) and those added since 2002 (west-side).

    Thank you Representatives Gorsek, Piluso, Johnson, Fagan and Vega-Pedersen.


    East Metro Economic Alliance has contacted our local legislators as well as the House Committee on Revenue members in support of House Bill 2652, which would correct a longstanding error in the legislation governing the Strategic Investment Program.

    EMEA is dedicated to creating a community of prosperity and economic opportunity in East County and will advocate for policies which promote that goal. The Strategic Investment Program is a critical statewide economic development tool that helps Oregon be competitive in attracting major traded-sector employers to our state. It is an important tool for East County, which has available industrial lands which could easily accommodate large traded sector employers.

    Unfortunately, the current statute does not always provide for a fair and even playing field when it comes to the ability to compete for investments on the regional level. The current statute rightly contains a lower cap for rural properties. But, the statute definition of “rural” land is not based on whether it exists within the current Urban Growth Boundary (UGB), but on whether or not it did when the statute became effective in 2002. That means some land parcels, now well within the UGB, are able to offer a lower cap for property tax purposes than urban land in our area of the region. That is both unfair and unnecessary, and we support an even playing field for all urban land in the region.

  • July 24, 2015 11:05 AM | Jarvez Hall (Administrator)

    EMEA reached out to our legislators in support of SB 129 which modifies Gain Share. While East Country does not currently benefit from Gain Share, we recognize the importance of programs like the Strategic Investment Program to attract businesses to the region and the need to share the costs and benefits of those programs through a reasonable Gain Share program to benefit the local region as well as the State as a whole.

  • July 24, 2015 11:05 AM | Jarvez Hall (Administrator)

    EMEA supports HB 2734 which allows local governments to create land banks and offer local property tax abatements to facilitate brownfield cleanup and redevelopment.

  • July 24, 2015 11:05 AM | Jarvez Hall (Administrator)

    The East Metro Economic Alliance is opposing HB 3034, as it would have a serious impact on health care, livability, and economic development for our communities.

    HB 3034 removes the property tax exemption for local hospitals and hospital-owned health care facilities unless the hospital can demonstrate that it spends 15% of its revenues on charity care. Under the federal Affordable Care Act, there is no conceivable way that a hospital could spend this amount in uncompensated charity care.

    The bill would burden a vital non-profit community asset – our community hospitals – with very little return for counties in tax revenue. The burden on hospitals would not be offset in any way by an associated improvement in community health or health care coverage. Local governments could spend the revenue in any manner unrelated to health care.

    Business joined with hospitals and policy makers to support a total overhaul of the state’s health care delivery in the wake of the Affordable Care Act. A key reason was that it would drive down the need for charity care and its associated cost shift to small businesses that pay health insurance premiums. As the need for charity care goes down, we should not penalize hospitals for the success we all hoped for in this area by adding new taxes.

  • July 24, 2015 11:03 AM | Jarvez Hall (Administrator)

    EMEA contacted our local legislators in opposition to SB 629.

    SB 629, known as the Right to Rest bill has been brought to the attention of the East Metro Economic Alliance. The City of Gresham and businesses, especially in Historic Downtown Gresham, are concerned about the impact such a measure would have in attracting customers to their doors.

    In particular, the definition of the term “harassment” is subjective, making it difficult for setting policies and local ordinances. Of further concern is the definition of “public spaces” including “an easement of for public use”. It could mean that site easements that frequently go across private property could be interpreted as an opportunity for public rest.

    The local and county governments are very focused on connecting people to services and housing. Of course, employment opportunities are always in the forefront. SB629 does not aid in solving these issues, and places another unnecessary state law in place affecting, in particular, small storefront businesses.

  • June 01, 2015 11:02 AM | Jarvez Hall (Administrator)

    Executive Summary

    With rapid population growth, a prime location, and an abundance of developable industrial lands, the East Metro area is poised to become a major player in the regional and statewide economy. In order to seize this opportunity, however, East Metro leaders must focus on five vital issues. Responsible development of available lands, improved transportation corridors, high performing education system, a well-trained workforce, a competitive and flexible business environment and community which attracts and retains businesses and employees are the keys to unlocking East Metro’s economic potential and elevating its citizens’ quality of life. The East Metro Economic Alliance (EMEA), an advocacy group comprised of the region’s business and government leaders, recognizes the critical importance of these issues and has chosen to make them the focus of its business plan and advocacy efforts. Success towards these issues will only be achieved through enhancing and continuous improvement of the collaborative approach among the stakeholders here in the East Metro which include the cities of Fairview, Gresham, Troutdale and Wood Village, Multnomah County and the region. Furthermore East Metro Economic Alliance will need to have consistent focus on monitoring and advocating for business interest in the East Metro. Success in these efforts will ensure increased national and regional competitiveness and East Metro marketability.

    Listed below are the initiatives EMEA has identified and the actions necessary to accomplish them.

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PO Box 422
Gresham, OR 97030

East Metro Economic Alliance is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization. PO Box 422, Gresham, OR 97030

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