There are growing signs that the economic recovery in Oregon is at a crossroads. According to the chair of economics at Portland State University, Hiro Ito, “Unless we have a vaccine for the disease and unless many people get vaccinated, we don’t know how long this situation will continue.” Ito is not alone in his thoughts about the state of the Oregon economy. In a recent phone call with Arizona based Venture Capitalist Ashton Eugene Thomas, we discussed at length what the state may face economically.
According to Thomas, “The recovery still is not balanced. There are some sectors of the economy that can rebound quickly and see profitability right away,” but Thomas also points out that many small businesses will struggle to stay afloat and will face daunting challenges to recover. According to many economists, this may be the time to go to school and get trained in the areas of the economy that are destined to see success, especially as many industries that currently operate may not have the long-term job growth opportunities. Until a vaccine is released, there will be tough times ahead, as streets are littered with closed-up storefronts and crushed dreams of local small businesses. In South Portland, city leaders have stated that workforce development is a priority, but did not seek to make any changes to the Portland Economic Development Plan.
According to Thomas, “Economically, COVID has changed everything.” There are high stakes for the people of Oregon. However, their fates are tied by the hands of businessmen and lawmakers who do not always agree on the solutions. In the meantime local businessmen hold out hopes that the COVID pandemic will not continue deep into 2021.