The City of Wilsonville, Oregon has been an attractive place to do business for decades, which has afforded its residents abundant opportunities for economic growth and development. Yet, last year, the City’s attempts to recruit SoloPower, a California-based company looking for a home for its $340 million solar plant, created controversy within the community. The situation helped City staff to realize their community needed a framework for economic development policies.
The City contracted with ECONorthwest to facilitate the development of an Economic Development Strategy. The Strategy outlines Wilsonville's vision for economic development and proposes an action plan for moving forward. It is a framework that guides both city investments and regulations and private supporting efforts.
But Wilsonville didn’t go it alone. City staff understood that the success of their economic development strategy would depend on the quality of their collaboration with the community’s various members. So Wilsonville and ECONorthwest focused on providing multiple opportunities for public participation in the project. An Advisory Committee of residents, business owners, and other community members guided the development of the strategy. ECONorthwest also sought input through interviews with key business leaders, focus groups with more than forty community members, an Economic Summit attended by more than 50 community members, and community surveys. These efforts aligned the Strategy with the priorities and vision of the city and its members.
The Strategy recommends twelve actions for Wilsonville that fall under these six categories:
In a vote on August 20th, 2012, the City Council adopted the Wilsonville Economic Development Strategy. The Council also directed the City Manager to continue the effort by appointing a task force to review and make recommendations on issues related to business recruitment and financial incentives.
"I believe that what we have in front of us is not only a strong economic development and a strong beginning,” said City Council President Celia Núñez, “but also quite strategic for what's good for Wilsonville."
Find additional coverage of the Strategy in the Oregonian.
Terry Moore, ECONorthwest Planning Director who specializes in land use and transportation planning, and Beth Goodman, Senior Planner who specializes in land use planning and policy analysis, contributed to this report.