After meeting with his volunteer transition teams and the Oregon Business Plan Steering Committee, Governor John Kitzhaber announced seven job creation opportunities to begin working on immediately.  Watch the video of the press conference, courtesy of the Salem Statesman Journal.

In his speech at the December 13, 2010 Oregon Leadership Summit, then Governor-elect Kitzhaber announced that he would like to meet with the Oregon Business Plan Steering Committee along with key legislative and labor leaders prior to January 15th to discuss implementing elements of the Plan.

The meeting took place January 11, 2011 in the state capitol, immediately after the Governor’s volunteer transition team leaders reported to the Governor on their recommendations.  The jobs/economy transition teams included manufacturing, energy efficiency, workforce training, biomass, and economic development/business finance tools.  The reports from the transition teams can be found here.

The Business Plan Steering Committee emphasized the 2011-2013 Oregon Innovation Plan, transportation/infrastructure priorities, a suite of recommendations to make industrial land available, and a  proposal to withdraw water from the Columbia River for agriculture during high flow periods.  Review the Business Plan Steering Committee memos to Governor Kitzhaber here.

At a press conference following the two meetings, Governor Kitzhaber outlined initiatives to act on immediately:

1.  Directing the Oregon Department of Energy to begin conducting energy audits on 500 public school buildings, using $200 million in unallocated stimulus dollars.  The audits will prepare for a larger effort to retrofit public school buildings next summer.

2.  Support Oregon’s biomass industry by promoting the use of biomass boilers in school retrofits.  Also, lead an effort to ensure that EPA “Tailoring Rule” reflects a beneficial carbon profile for woody biomass.   update:  On January 12, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said  it will defer greenhouse gas permit requirements for biomass energy production for at least three years for reconsideration of the science and rulemaking.

3.  Take administrative action to combine on-the-job training program with the National Career Readiness Certificate and ramp them up.  According to Governor Kitzhaber, this action could connect 1200 out of work Oregonians with high demand jobs this year.  update:  A launch for the National Career Readiness Certificate has been scheduled for January 25, 2010 at 9am @ NW Natural in Portland.  Governor Kitzhaber will participate.

4.  Implement the 2011-2013 Oregon Innovation Plan

Governor Kitzhaber also announced three additional initiatives to begin examining immediately:

5.  Making industrial land quickly available to support jobs  update:  Business Oregon, working with its state and local partners, recently certified three large industrial sites as ready for business development and job creation in as few as 180 days.  The new sites include 81 acres in the same Prineville industrial park that houses a new Facebook data center; 101 acres on a former superfund site in The Dalles, Oregon; and 40 acres of recently zoned industrial land in Ontario, Oregon.

6.  Making expediting energy transmission siting a goal of his energy policy team.

7.  Examining the possibility of allowing increased water withdrawals from the Columbia River to support agriculture in eastern Oregon, during high flow summer periods.