Past Projects



The Metropolitan Economic Policy Task force was created in response to several key developments in the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan region. First, both the third phase of the Regional Industrial Lands Study and the analysis of the economy of the westside of the region developed by the Westside Economic Alliance concluded that some sort of regional strategy was called for.

Neither study reviewed existing economic development policies and strategies, but both identified a need for some sort of overarching element. In addition, the recently completed work of the Portland Development Commission's Blue Ribbon Committee identified the Regional Economic Development Partners as the lead entity for coordinating economic development activities, and that the Partners will likely play an expanded role in the future.

Second, metropolitan areas in other parts of the United States and around the world are beginning to develop regional economic strategies. Several other efforts well known to this region, particularly in places like Austin, Texas, and San Jose, California, have pioneered the organization of efforts to advance high tech economies at a metropolitan scale. To date, this region has not responded in a coordinated fashion.


In response to the findings of local studies, to the growing recognition of the metropolitan scale for the region's economy,and to the efforts being made in competitor regions to advance economic development practice and thinking, the Regional Economic Development Partners have called for the creation of a Metropolitan Economic Policy Task Force to engage in fact-finding regarding the state of economic development strategy in the region and the degree to which new strategy development is necessary.

More specifically, the mission for the Task Force is to review adopted and emerging local, regional, and state economic development strategies to identify:

1) common themes;
2) possible conflicts and gaps; and
3) opportunities and best practices for linking economic development objectives to land use and transportation planning and implementing actions and investments in the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan area.

The report of the Task Force will be the basis for clarifying the nature and extent of economic development strategy needed and desired at the regional level. It will help to clarify the distinction between region-level economic development objectives or strategies and local-level objectives or strategies. The final report will pay particular attention to gaps at the metropolitan level in strategy or policy, and ways in which those gaps could be filled in the near future.

Please note that the Task Force is not being asked to develop a regional economic strategy. Rather, the Task Force has been empanelled to inventory, for the first time, what we, as a region, are doing, and then what the metropolitan region needs to do next to reinforce its strategic economic goals.

This is path-breaking work. Our metropolitan area has never before considered what an economic development strategy matching the breadth of the regional economy might look like, whether we have one, or whether additional components are required. The work that the Task Force will do will set the stage for ways in which strategic approaches to metropolitan economic development get incorporated in a range of public and private initiatives.


Metropolitan Economic Policy Task Force Final Report, June 2003 (.pdf file)

Memo to Regional Partners: Six-Month Work Plan (.pdf file)

Regional Partners Six-Month Work Plan Toward Creating a Vital and Sustainable Regional
(.pdf file)

A Framework for Creating Shared Economic Priorities for the Portland-Vancouver Metropolitan
(.pdf file)"

Inventory of Economic Development Strategies and Actions (.pdf file)
Section 1: Inventory of public sector strategies and actions--information gleaned from interviews with public sector economic development professionals
Section 2: Survey of economic development organization strategies and activities
Section 3: Examples of regional economic development strategies
Appendices: A description of "competitive region" activities and a document prepared for the Portland Development Commission's Blue Ribbon Committee comparing this region to others.

Review of Economic Strategy: a memorandum prepared by Joe Cortright (Impresa, Inc.) summarizing
his review of economic development activities in the metropolitan Portland region. (.pdf file)

Regional Economic Strategy: Four Questions for Metropolitan Portland: a .pdf version of the PowerPoint presentation by Joe Cortright to the Task Force summarizing his analysis of economic development strategies in the region.

Metropolitan Economic Policy Task Force: Findings, Key Themes, and Next Steps: a pdf version of the PowerPoint presentation by Ethan Seltzer to Metro's Policy Advisory Committee.

TASk Force Meeting Minutes:

June 10, 2003 minutes (.pdf file)
November 12, 2002 (.pdf file)
December 12, 2002 (.pdf file)
January 14, 2003 (.pdf file)
February 11, 2003 (.pdf file)
March 11, 2003 (.pdf file)
April 8, 2004 (.pdf file)