When asked how to build a world-class city, the late U.S. Senator from New York Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously answered “build a university — and wait 200 years.” It’s a quote that ECONorthwest President John Tapogna points to when discussing the economic impact that universities have on their hometowns, and the opportunities that higher education presents to local economic development agencies. “There’s no question it’s a critical part of their economic development toolbox,” Tapogna said. There are the tangible benefits — jobs and employee salaries, spending on goods and services — and the intangible — a pipeline of educated workers and innovation from university researchers. To get a sense of the impact Oregon colleges and universities have on their home cities, we put a series of questions to economic development specialists in college towns across the state. Here’s some of what they had to say. Answers have been edited for brevity.

Tom Nelson

Economic development manager, city of Corvallis

College: Oregon State University

Spinout companies of note: OSU counts 70 companies employing 735 jobs through its Advantage accelerator since 2013.

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