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Land, Housing and Workforce Front and Center in Oregon CHIPS Act

Written by Mark Long on Oct. 16th, 2023
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Last session the Legislature passed Senate Bill 4 – Oregon’s version of the CHIPS Act to expand and create new development opportunities in manufacturing and the semi-conductor industry.  One aspect of the bill is a $190 million budget allocation that will be awarded to qualifying businesses. Another $50 million was set aside but must be reaffirmed in the upcoming 2024 February short session.

During last week’s Legislative Days, members of the governor’s semi-conductor and economic develop team shared an update on the application and process being used to award the funds.

Initial data from businesses applying for state funds identified a potential investment benefit of $43.8 billion statewide and 6,300 direct jobs (not including construction, as an example). The 16 businesses proposed projects in Benton, Deschutes, Jackson, Lane, Linn, Multnomah and Washington counties; policymakers have wanted good statewide economic investment across multiple parts of the state.

The team reviewing applications stressed that once negotiations and contract details are complete, the actual investment benefit may moderate. However, the governor’s staff expect the number to come in north of $35 billion. 

The interest level, private investments and jobs outlook provided a very rosy picture during the update. During the “anticipated challenges” portion of the overview, adequate construction workforce, semi-conductor workforce and childcare were identified as significant issues that need to be addressed to support the private investment coming to Oregon. Local government representatives also identified industrial land shortages and lack of workforce housing as additional key challenges.

Based on the back-and-forth comments during the update, the construction industry should continue to hear concerns from policymakers about workforce shortages to meet future demand

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