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The city is well-positioned for attracting businesses to the area



The Canby Commercial real estate market continues to be a gem of a find in the Portland Metro region, according to local observers, and is well-positioned to absorb growth in the region.

Canby Economic Development Director Renate Mengelberg said the variety of lots sized 20 to 60 acres that are available in town — about 165 acres in total — along with the fact that city infrastructure already extends to many of those sites, as well as railroad service, provides a real advantage to medium-sized and large businesses looking to settle in the region.

“A lot of the sites are already built and occupied around the metro region so they are not on the market,” Mengelberg said. “So, companies shipping large, bulky products long distance would have a real competitive advantage coming here, especially with the existing access to rail with the cost of freight going up, as well as gas prices.”

Mengelberg is active promoting Canby through partnerships with regional marketing concerns. One is Greater Portland, Inc., a nonprofit economic development group partially funded by taxpayers, and Business Oregon, the state’s economic development agency, which recently announced it will provide $25,000 per regional economic development organization during the next two years in an attempt to decrease promotional costs.

Mengelberg also plans on taking a couple of trips in the near future to try to attract companies to Canby — one to Chicago to try to recruit metal fabricators, and the other to Anaheim on a recruiting mission to attract medical device companies.

Mengelberg will tout the economic incentives offered by Canby, which include a strategic investment zone incentive in the form of a 15-year tax abatement on any investment of more than $25 million made by companies that pour those resources into new plants and equipment, and additional state and county incentives that are available.

Those include direct loans and loan guarantees, cash incentives and many other options available through Oregon Business. Clackamas County also offers a rural revolving loan program worth $150,000, with a requirement of one job per $25,000, for businesses located outside the Portland Metro urban growth boundary, on the job training grants of as much as $5,000 per employee, and other incentives.

“Canby has a real strength in metals manufacturing,” Mengelberg said. “Companies here are on the higher end of the market when it comes to value. We’re trying to attract companies that have a high value-added product and are therefore better able to pay well and provide good benefits to employees.”

In addition to available economic incentives, companies can take advantage of hiring graduates of Clackamas Community College and Oregon Tech. Both schools have a wide range of degrees focused on manufacturing and graduate educated and highly-trained workers.

“Clackamas Community College is undergoing an expansion (that will help) support the manufacturing industry,” Mengelberg said. “They (already) provide certificates and two-year degree manufacturing programs, and Oregon Tech provides four-year degrees and master’s degrees in manufacturing engineering.”

Mengelberg said it’s crucial to keep the city’s website that lists available industrial and commercial property inventories up to date, at least quarterly, so that businesses looking at Canby can find all the information they need in one place. She added that it is crucial working with real estate brokers who know the area inside and out and can share all of the advantages the city has to offer.

Allen Patterson, senior vice president for Portland-based Capacity Commercial Group, and Terry Tolls of Portland-based TN Tolls Company Realtors, are two brokers that have been working together to attract companies to the Canby market for a combined 30-plus years. Tolls said he’s been working on developing the Canby Industrial Park in one way or another since the late 1990s. He used to go to planning commission meetings, urban renewal meetings and was involved in the planning of the city’s infrastructure “to one degree or another with all the buildings out there,” Tolls said.

“We are geared for attracting manufacturing firms at this point,” Tolls said. “One of the things that we do have an advantage with in terms of other areas is that Canby has its own public utility district. That is important to manufacturers because they use a lot of power. It’s competitively priced in Canby compared to other areas, and we are just 10 minutes from two freeways.”

Patterson said that Aurora State Airport is another asset in the neighborhood that will help to sell available properties.

“Having such close proximity to a regional airport is a huge plus,” Patterson said. “It is an economic engine in its own right with 1,000-or-so people employed there. I think corporate America has been able to figure out since the last recession they can operate with fewer people. That’s no secret, a lot of them do, and we are meeting the current demand. When there is someone out there looking for land we are usually now on the shopping list.”

Tolls added there are a couple of deals in the works but he cannot discuss them as he is bound by non-disclosure agreements.

“As long as we can keep an industrial area with quality buildings, and with what we’ve told other folks who come in, you can count on this area maintaining standards,” Toll said. “That is a big deal.”

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