Build the Bridge and More. Connect Education with Careers. Unlock Natural Resources to Strengthen Rural Economies. These were the key themes of the 11th annual Oregon Business Plan Leadership Summit December 9, 2013, attended by more than 1,000 business and public leaders. The summit also took up important initiatives in health care, public finance, and forestry for action in the Oregon Business Plan in 2014.

Build the Bridge and More. Oregon has an enormous backlog of unmet infrastructure needs. The Columbia River I-5 Bridge Replacement is ready to go. We need to confirm a financing plan in the February session of the Legislature and then get to work. The risk to our economy is not in financing the bridge, but in failing to
get it built.

Beyond the bridge, we need to set aggressive priorities for our basic infrastructure needs. These include university capacity to support research and commercialization of innovative technologies, transportation for commuters and freight mobility, reliable energy production, new transmission capacity for electricity and natural gas, information technology, and water/sewer treatment.

Connect Education with Careers. Too many Oregonians are underemployed or unemployed because their skills don’t match current and future job requirements. We need to fix that by investing more in STEM and Career/Technical education. Jobs in these fields pay a premium. We must also provide a rigorous education to all students so they can prepare for and adapt to changing work requirements.

Unlock Natural Resources to Strengthen Rural Economies. Unemployment and poverty are highest in rural Oregon. Over the past several decades these regions have struggled in a tug of war over natural resources driven by policies that serve neither the communities nor the environment especially well. Plunging harvest levels in federal forests illustrate the impact of such policies. If unlocked, such resources could grow rural economies in a short time – and in a way that actually improves environmental quality.

The Oregon Business Plan website is now fully updated with all of the content from the event including video, slides and policy proposals. The site is a year-round resource for the latest information on how to meet the Oregon Business Plan goals of creating 25, 000 new jobs per year and raising the incomes of Oregonians above the national average. 


The Oregon Cluster Network is hosted by the Oregon Business Plan to support Oregon's mature, growing and emerging industry clusters and to assist cluster participants as they work to accelerate innovation and the competitiveness of their industries.  By connecting industry leaders with university researchers, schools, media, venture capital, economic development practitioners, and other resources, the Cluster Network generates new prospects for business recruitment, develops relevant economic and industry data, guides public policy, and helps cluster facilitators across the state share best practices to develop a regional advantage.  Learn more at


Oregon higher education has witnessed more policy changes in the last year than it has in the past 50. State universities are achieving more autonomy and state budgeting is becoming more focused on strategic investment and integrated funding for universities, community colleges, and need-based student aid.

These changes and larger trends and challenges were on the agenda for the Higher Education Symposium sponsored January 29 in Portland by Oregon Learns. More than 200 postsecondary leaders, trustees, policy makers, and thought leaders attended the day-long event, which highlighted keynotes by Jamie Merisotis, President and CEO of the Lumina Foundation for Education, and Pat Callan, President of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education.

Oregon Learns is an OBC initiative to communicate Oregon’s vision for a redesigned education system and to work with and support Oregon policy makers and stakeholders as they shape and implement that vision. For more, visit the Oregon Learns website.

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Since 1985,  the Oregon Business Council (OBC) has played a central role in addressing public issues that are important to Oregonians. Through research and analysis, internal discussions, and collaboration with other organizations and public officials, OBC is an advocate for policies that improve Oregon's quality of life and economy.

Welcome to our web site. It describes who we are, how we work, and our major policy concerns. It also contains many of the studies and reports we've commissioned or supported in recent