Business Alliance, City Club will lead gathering at Mt. Hood Community College

An annual economic report from ECONorthwest found a majority of residents in East Multnomah County don't work close to where they live.

Representatives from Portland Business Alliance (PBA), the City Club of Portland, and elected officials will discuss why 69 percent of East Multnomah County residents commute for work — along with the report's other findings — during "A Closer Look: East Multnomah County's Economy." The forum will be held 6-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 9, at the Mt. Hood Community College (MHCC) Auditorium, 26000 S.E. Stark St., Gresham.

While PBA has hired ECONorthwest to conduct an annual economic checkup since 2010, it's the first time the report includes a section specifically addressing East Multnomah County, said Amy Lewin, PBA's strategic communications director. The report also determined the eastern half of the county has seen strong economic growth since 2010, and there are almost as many jobs in East Multnomah County as in the Portland core.

"We found that there are nearly 100,000 jobs in that portion of the county," Lewin said.

Because East Multnomah County isn't an official designation, the report defined the area as all of Multnomah County east of Interstate 205.

While the analysis shows strong job growth, it also found East County employees are earning less for working in the same fields than in the western portion of the county — or in Clackamas and Washington counties.

Lewin said MHCC will host the event because the college is such a vital community asset.

"We want to make this a conversation that's inclusive to those who work or live out in East Multnomah County," she said, "and the college seemed like the right place to do that."

Dan Rivas, communications director for the City Club of Portland, said the event will provide a way for his organization to expand out of the Portland core.

"We're really excited to partner with MHCC," he said. "They have a really important voice happening in East (Multnomah County). They are helping develop those future business leaders."

Economic growth discussions are often focused on Portland.

"City Club, we have been in downtown Portland for 103 years," Rivas noted. "We're starting to realize how it's a bigger picture. We need to be more inclusive. What are the ways to work more broadly?

"We're really excited to partner with these organizations and be part of this conversation in East Multnomah County," he added.

Contact Gresham Outlook Reporter Matt DeBow at 503-492-5115, or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

If you go

What: "A Closer Look: East Multnomah County's Economy" public forum

Where: Mt. Hood Community College Auditorium, 26000 S.E. Stark St., Gresham

When: 6-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 9

Cost: Free

To register: Visit

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