REMARKS AS PREPARED
Cascades Plant Grand Opening
July 18, 2017
Thank you Hugo for the introduction.
On behalf of the state of Oregon, I’m delighted to celebrate the grand opening with you today. This new facility is truly a win for rural Oregon.
While Cascades already had one facility in St. Helens, this expansion tells me that they realized something that I’ve known for many years: nothing can beat living and working in Oregon.
In a time when rural jobs are disappearing all across the country, this new facility is creating full-time jobs for Oregonians and breathing new life into the economy. This investment will not only provide good wages for Cascades’ employees, but also spurs economic growth and development throughout Columbia County and shows our continued belief in the region.
While rural Oregon economies have grown, they have not grown at the same pace as Oregon’s urban areas. Projects like this help close that gap.
Oregon’s economy was born from our natural resource-based industries, and lumber in particular. While the economic and political landscape may look different today, wood products continue to play a strong role in Oregon’s thriving and innovative economy.
From recycling fibers into consumer products like tissues and napkins, all the way up to establishing the first certified, commercial producer of Cross Laminated Timber in the United States, Oregon’s natural resource-based industries will continue to be a mainstay of our economy.
We’ve made an intentional decision here in Oregon to not stand idly by as consumer demands shift and the global economy changes.
While Oregon’s economy holds the top GDP growth in the nation, low unemployment levels, and record export growth, we must be diligent and ensure that economic growth reaches all corners of the state, particularly our rural communities.
These new facilities are indicative of our continued commitment to providing sustainable jobs for all Oregonians and creating sustainable economic growth.
A few years ago Cascades expanded their St. Helens facility, effectively doubling both their manufacturing capabilities and their workforce. That expansion and this new facility give me great hope that the manufacturing industry in rural Oregon will continue to grow and prosper.
Both of these expansions have a common thread that ties them to the state of Oregon: Strategic Reserve Fund loans. After seeing great returns on our first investment in Cascades, I’m happy to be making a half-million dollars state investment and partnering with this company again as they invest millions into a cutting edge facility, employing local workers with good-paying jobs.
Without boring you with all the nitty-gritty details, Oregon has and will continue to make investments in Oregon businesses.
The folks at Business Oregon did a great job working with Cascades on these expansions and I look forward to seeing the benefits of this investment for years to come. I’d like to wish a special thank you to Chris Harder and Dennie Houle from Business Oregon – Thank you both for all of your hard work.
I would also like to recognize some other key partners in this endeavor:
Thank you to Senator Betsy Johnson and Representative Brad Witt for your dedication to this project and for your continued commitment to nurturing economic investment in your districts.
Thank you to the Columbia County leadership and Scappoose Mayor Scott Burge for all of your work to create sustainable jobs for your residents. A special thank you to former Columbia County Commissioner Tony Hyde as well, whose work was instrumental in bringing this project to the county.
Thank you to our Regional Solutions Team members, notably Mark Ellsworth, who coordinated efforts from my office, Business Oregon, Columbia County, and the city of Scappoose to turn ideas into concrete investments to help Oregonians.
I would also be remiss to overlook Chuck Daughtry, the Executive Director of the Columbia County Economic Team, who started the ball rolling by working with Cascades and the state to secure this location as the site of the new facility. Thank you Chuck.
And finally, thank you to Cascades for recognizing Scappoose as the ideal location for your new facility. Your investment will not only provide good-paying jobs to thousands of rural Oregonians, but shows true potential as a catalyst for future prosperity and sustainable growth in the region.