by Brent Grening, CEO

It’s autumn, the season for planning, budgeting and getting ready for next year. To prepare for the work ahead, I’ll be attending a conference in New York City that will focus on securing private sector investment for publicly-directed development.

I’ve been invited to this conference to meet with other ports and communities to share our experience with public-private partnerships. The conference is focused on how public agencies can access private funding to finance and build things like roads, bridges and buildings – the things communities need as they grow and wish to attract more quality jobs. I’ve been asked to talk about how the three Clark County ports and the Columbia River Economic Development Council are working together to present our corner of the state and metro area as a sound business investment.

The people of the Discovery Corridor have tremendous potential. We have lots of smart, hardworking citizens. As the recession gives way to economic growth, employers and entrepreneurs have the opportunity to build their businesses right here – in Ridgefield.

Our job as a port is to prepare the ground, so to speak, for private sector investors, who, before investing, need to know with whom they are investing, and what the return on investment will be. We’re simply making the case that our area is a sound investment environment. Forbes magazine recently ranked Portland third in the nation for economic growth potential – and as the Portland metro grows, so will Ridgefield and North County.

Staying current with trends and best practices by learning from other areas of the country can help us make North County a strong regional economic hub. To insure this outcome, we need to grow jobs on pace with the rapid residential growth that’s pushing north. We’re working to find the balance in order to maintain our livability and sense of place. The answer, we believe, lies in establishing successful partnerships with the private sector.