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I was a member of last night’s audience and posed the question of what might be done for those residents of the coastal communities that are barely getting by in the current economy. There was much of discussion of efforts underway to recruit "lifestyle entrepreneurs", and the positive economic impact they would have on our communities.
An economic study conducted by The Oregon Coastal Zone Management Association outlined the following:
Tourism accounted for 6% of the Coast’s earned personal income and data from 2003 shows transfer income (social security and other government assistance), constitutes 23% of the total personal income on the Oregon Coast. Investment income (retirement accounts such as individual 401k accounts and pensions) constitutes 23% of the total personal income on the Oregon Coast. Taken together, investment income and transfer income constitutes 46% of the total earned income on the Oregon Coast.
At the surface, the Oregon Coast looks prosperous, but the reality is a third of the families on the Coast are one paycheck away from financial disaster. A significant segment of the Oregon Coast’s population is trapped in a cycle of poverty.
Download the full report here: http://www.oczma.org/detail.php?item=30
I think efforts to improve the overall economy on the Coast should be directed to attracting businesses that could provide jobs to a wide variety of people already here rather than attracting more "lifestyle entrepreneurs" who, though they may have some positive impact on local economies, contribute little towards solving the larger issues facing the flailing coastal economy.
It is true that such efforts have been undertaken as the recent announcement of NOAA basing it’s Marine Operations Center here, which will bring approximately 175 employees to the area. Construction is expected to begin soon, employing up to 100 workers, on facilities to host 4 NOAA vessels, with berths for 2 visiting vessels, plus labs and offices.
These are noble efforts but not long term solutions for the coastal economy. Rather than following the notions and ideas of a few well meaning individuals, perhaps a Coastal Economic Consortium could be formed and an earnest study undertaken to realistically determine what might be done to improve the economic situation for everyone with more representation from those not from the business sector.
posted 3 years, 1 month ago
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