New trade group emerges as lobbying voice for Oregon manufacturers

Manufacturers have a new voice in the state capitol. On Monday, the trade group Oregon Manufacturers and Commerce launched. The group will lobby on behalf of Oregon's manufacturers on issues including business climate, tax policy and workforce development.

"From the Silicon Forest to forest products, Oregon manufacturers fabricate a wide variety of metal, machinery, paper, wood, and food and beverage products, and they provide Oregonians with good paying jobs and economic stability for our state,” Stuart Gray, general counsel for Roseburg Forest Products, said in a news release. "Unfortunately, the interests of Oregon manufacturers, their employees, and their communities are often underrepresented in policy decisions."

Gray will serve as the group's secretary. It will be chaired by Kim Medford, general counsel of Entek International. Todd Payne, CEO of Seneca Sawmill Co., will serve as treasurer. Veteran lobbyist Shaun Jillions will serve as executive director.

Governor Kate Brown: 'I am not backing down' on cap-and-trade legislation

The face of (cap-and-trade) opposition, at least in the Capitol, was business lobbyist Shaun Jillions, who heads trade association Oregon Manufacturers and Commerce. Jillions never gave up on the fight against HB 2020, successfully working hard in the final weeks to turn key Senate Democrats against the bill. "People from around the state made their voices heard loud and clear last week," Jillions said.

Behind the recent opposition was wildly effective messaging hitting the prevalent themes of ever-expanding government and favoritism of urban elites: The bill would decimate rural economies while flowing money to Oregon's cities, all the while handing control over the economy to a bureaucracy led by a director appointed by Brown.

Coronavirus in Oregon: Businesses lobby to delay, tweak new school tax

A coalition of more than 40 business groups from around the state wrote lawmakers Thursday urging them to delay the state’s new corporate activities tax for six months to help them preserve cash and avoid layoffs during the coronavirus pandemic.

“While there may be a multinational company or two that are doing well in this crisis, the fact remains that thousands of Oregon-based businesses are in serious peril and need immediate relief,” said Preston Mann, a spokesman for the trade group Oregon Manufacturers and Commerce, which heavily opposed the tax all along. “Failure to act due to one or two outliers could be catastrophic for Main Street across the state.”

Manufacturers in Oregon account for 14.58 percent of the total output in the state, employing 10.351 percent of the workforce.

There were 201,000 manufacturing employees in Oregon in 2019, with an average annual compensation of $80,800.

Small businesses comprised 89 percent of all exporters in Oregon.

Manufacturers help to drive Oregon’s economy, with $21.59 billion in manufactured goods exports in 2019.

That same year, $5.97 billion in exports was with our free trade agreement (FTA) partners.

This helps create jobs in the state, and 22 percent of its employment stemming from exports.