After spending six months in Salem, I returned home frustrated by the Legislature’s lack of serious attempts to improve the state’s economy.

Employment data for this year has shown that while the Portland metro area has done fairly well with job creation, most of the rest of the state continues to experience very slow economic growth.

A recent article in The Sandy Post reported that more businesses left Sandy than opened in 2013. And a county-by-county assessment completed by the Oregon Employment Department shows a very slow decrease of unemployment rates in rural counties.

These concerning reports have motivated me to do all I can during the interim period to help foster business sustainability and job creation in House District 52.

One of the key issues I have focused on during the interim is mitigating the Bridge of the Gods situation in Cascade Locks.

Recently, the Oregon Department of Transportation imposed severe weight restrictions on bridge traffic because of structural concerns.

This access point is an important component to the economic vitality of the Gorge region.

The weight restrictions are seriously impacting local business as well as creating safety concerns on other roads and bridges in the area. I have actively been working with the Gov. John Kitzhaber’s office and other state agencies to cut through the red tape and reach a timely solution.

Progress is being made to repair the bridge and continue its usage by both commercial and tourist traffic.

I also have continued to work with the Cascade Locks community to enable the construction of a Nestle Water bottling facility in the area. This facility would provide family wage jobs and help support those still reeling from the economic downturns.

Additionally, expediting the construction of the Timberline lift-assisted mountain bike park will be a real boom to the economic vitality of the Mountain and Villages areas.

This park would draw visitors from all over, and provide real economic benefits for many existing area businesses and create new job opportunities. This park would also connect both sides of the mountain and strengthen the reputation of the area as a world-class recreational destination.

All three of these measures highlight a balance between utilizing the natural resources of Oregon while respecting the environmental impact, a goal of which I am always mindful.

The complexity of the overall economic situation in Oregon is daunting. During the legislative session I constantly reminded my colleagues that a lack of action would continue to have a negative impact on our state. However, due to the headway made on the projects listed above, I am optimistic about the future of our district.

The success of each of these measures increases the opportunities for business sustainability and economic development as well as job growth and security. With long-term positive impacts to be had, House District 52 will lead the way towards a more robust and diverse Oregon economy that we can all rely on.

Rep. Mark Johnson is serving his second term as the representative from House District 52, which encompasses Hood River County, and portions of Clackamas and Multnomah Counties. His district includes East Gresham, Corbett and Cascade Locks.

Contract Publishing

Go to top
Template by JoomlaShine