Willamette Valley Business Newswire visited with the Tom Nelson, Economic Development Manager in the Corvallis- Benton County Economic Development Office and discussed some of the issues businesses encounter in the area.
WHAT ARE THE READY-FOR-WORK ADVANTAGES THAT BUSINESSES IN THIS AREA EXPERIENCE?
“One of the very real advantages Corvallis has to offer is incredible human capital with half a million workers living within average daily commute times. 27% of our population has a Bachelor degree or graduate degree. Oregon State University and Linn-Benton Community College serve this area well. We work very hard to make city and county governments a part of business success and not an impediment.” Corvallis has three enterprise zone exemption areas. Ernst and Young ranks Oregon among states with the lowest total effective business tax rate1.
“There is an ecosystem of entrepreneurial organizations and events – Business Enterprise Center, Willamette Angel Conference, Oregon RAIN Regional Accelerator & Innovation Network, Oregon State Advantage, and Linn-Benton Small Business Development Center and we’ve collected an impressive array of awards as an entrepreneurial hotspot.”
“Anyone who has been here knows of the world-class natural resources in this area, moderate climate, and abundant water sources. We have close access to the I-5 corridor as well as proximity to west coast shipping centers.”
WHAT TYPES OF BUSINESS MIGHT FIND THIS AREA ESPECIALLY APPEALING?
“We’re the #1 area for density of high-growth innovative startups among small metro areas and #10 among all metro areas. Scientific and technology companies can do well here. Of course the Willamette Valley is gifted with natural resources and moderate climate, so food industries, craft breweries and awarded vineyards flourish here.”
ARE THERE PLANS OR DEVELOPMENTS COMING THAT WILL IMPACT THIS AREA?
In November of 2014 voters approved a bond measure for LInn Benton Community College that will improve job training facilities and expand classroom and parking problems. Corvallis MSA unemployment rates remain low at 5.4% and Benton County has added 102% of jobs lost during the recession2.
ARE THERE UNIQUE HEADWINDS OR CONCERNS THAT FACE BUSINESSES IN THIS AREA?
“Our area is served by regional airports with direct flights from Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, and others. Over time increasing the frequency of direct flights into our area will payoff for everyone and we are looking at ways to speed that process.”