BLOG: Will Measure 97 weaken a great community asset: Oregon’s business leaders?

BLOG: Will Measure 97 weaken a great community asset: Oregon’s business leaders?

Phil and Penny Knight contributed $500 million to fund cancer research at Oregon Health & Science University and now another $500 million to fund scientific research at the University of Oregon. The Knight’s first gift to OHSU was a challenge that was met by the community. Their second gift to the U of O comes after a $10 million gift to the university in February by Columbia Sportswear owner and CEO Tim Boyle and his wife Mary. What are the effects of these gifts long term? Treatments for cancer and scientific research, new innovations with new buildings to house them, new brains to drive the ideas, and new hope to fuel the vision by bringing people together to further a common cause. 

Hopefully our Legislature will recognize the U of O’s request for $100 million in bonds to help pay for one of the buildings so the 10:1 private philanthropy to public monetary investment can be capitalized and the dreams of the center achieved; dreams that include a hub of innovation and entrepreneurism for the region, producing an estimated 750 new jobs and a better community. 

If the center is realized, public-private partnerships working as they should to bring a powerful vision and assets to achieve a common goal, will again be celebrated, and the business sector will rally to make it work with their time and talent as they have done countless times before. Witness the announcement this week of Ed and Cyndy Maletis’ $5 million gift to the University of Oregon business school. 

Before you vote on Ballot Measure 97, think about the contributions made by the community asset called the business sector. Is our vision of cooperation and common good being furthered or weakened by this measure? Give it some thought – it affects everyone’s future. 

Please join us in voting no on 97. 

Oh, and thanks Phil and Tim for starting your companies in Oregon, growing them in Oregon, staying in Oregon and attracting the industries your companies compete against to migrate to Oregon. We salute your vision and talent, and we deeply appreciate it. 

Signed by past chairs of the Portland Business Alliance board of directors 

Scott Andrews 
Jackie Babicky-Peterson 
Ron Beltz 
Owen Blank 
Marty Brantley 
Stuart Hall 
J. Clayton Hering 
Steven Holwerda 
Mitch Hornecker 
Philip Kalberer 
Gregg Kantor 
Debbie Kitchin 
Kenneth Novack 
Judy Peppler 
Pat Prendergast 
Dennis Rawlinson 
Jim Rudd