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West Linn 2015 Business Needs & Economic Development Study Conducted by June, 2015 Confidential West Linn 2015 Business Needs & Economic Development Study Conducted by June, 2015 Confidential Proprietary Information 2015 Research 13

Research Objectives This study was designed to help the City of West Linn understand Research Objectives This study was designed to help the City of West Linn understand West Linn businesses’ needs in order to create vibrant West Linn Business Districts. 2015 Research 13 2

Method & Screening All study respondents were specifically screened to: • Operate a business Method & Screening All study respondents were specifically screened to: • Operate a business in the City of West Linn. • Share in decision making or be the primary decision maker as to whether to locate their business in the City of West Linn. • Communicate well in English what their biggest business needs are. • Be willing to share two hours discussing issues with other West Linn businesses. A mix of businesses were recruited by: • • Number of employees Number of years in West Linn Type of business or segment Membership in the Chamber of Commerce Business district/geography Education Fifty three (53) West Linn businesses were interviewed. 2015 Research 13 3

This is a Story About West Linn An Ethnographic Story = Qualitative research Not This is a Story About West Linn An Ethnographic Story = Qualitative research Not quantitative. No percentages in this report. More research is needed in order to understand what percentage of businesses feel one way or the other. 2015 Research 13 4

Biggest Business Goal? Sales. Branding and messaging (also typically falls under marketing/sales). 2015 Research Biggest Business Goal? Sales. Branding and messaging (also typically falls under marketing/sales). 2015 Research 13 5

Economic Development Basics 99% of valid economic development theory was fully developed by 1971 Economic Development Basics 99% of valid economic development theory was fully developed by 1971 and most notably via researchers from MIT. Every town is different and has interesting stories, however, the big levers that sustain a healthy city are known. Economic development is really about GROWTH. Historically, business must grow 3 -4% in net revenue each year just to keep up with inflation. No growth and low growth areas of a city negatively impact the cities standard of living. Safety, availability of services and sustainability practices. Cities that grow are vibrant; cities that do not grow become dull with underutilized space. Every business dollar paid in the community is multiplied 2. 5 times (often more). So there is a pay off for local dollars spent. Growth happens. How are you going to manage it? Millions of people are moving to the metro area. To have growth and project success people have to be aware and support projects. Need small groups to work on individual projects because if groups are too big then you will spend all your time disagreeing with concepts and never get anything done. 2015 Research 13 6

WL Economic Background Since the beginning, The West Linn area has been leveraged and WL Economic Background Since the beginning, The West Linn area has been leveraged and involved in Economic Development. This has included development of residential projects, PGE hydro, Trolly’s to Downtown Portland strong connections to other Cities and Oregon State Founders. Jump back a few decades and Mary S. Young Park is a Potato field. The 1950 Crown Zellerbach has a $6 million payroll. $80+ million in today’s dollars with real $50 K+ salaries and 1, 400 employees. Remember the multiplier? That would be ~$200 million into the local economies in 2015 dollars. The falls itself is second only to Niagara in terms of water volume (source: World Waterfalls Database). A massive resource that other communities around the country would love to have along with the other city attributes. In very recent history, WL area has improved ties to Metro, the Oregon Heritage Commission and other cities. West Linn will grow whether you like it or not, so getting agreement on the plan is critical. 2015 Research 13 7

Business Awareness is Low Businesses spoken with had low awareness of key City issues: Business Awareness is Low Businesses spoken with had low awareness of key City issues: Most people spoken with were unaware of how the basic economic development concepts apply to West Linn (very common in other cities including Portland). Unaware of City economic development efforts (RAIN room, designated city staff, etc. ) Unaware of City and private resources (Robinwood Station, etc. ). Unaware of Business networking opportunities and/or why they should network in West Linn Unaware of The Arch Bridge Plan. Low awareness of SCORE, SBA and other local resources such as SBDCs. Unaware of other businesses like themselves (Massage therapist doesn’t know massage therapist one block away from themselves). Only a few businesses aware of reasons why competing businesses should ban together. Unaware of great revenue producing business activities or resources to leverage. Unaware of community assets that should be leveraged for growth. Not a single business mentioned tourism as a means for economic development. No one suggested- that the City could provide tax relief and get some development a la the Pearl District or other successful PDC projects. 2015 Research 13 8

The Disconnect City Council: Home owner/Voter: What’s the benefit? My voters aren’t asking for The Disconnect City Council: Home owner/Voter: What’s the benefit? My voters aren’t asking for it? What’s the benefit? Solution: Networking Business: What’s the ROI? 2015 Research 13 City Staff: I’m not getting any feed back. I just worked on this plan for months, talked to experts and put out the information with detailed benefits and ROI. 9

Current Business Personality None. West Linn has NO business personality among most businesses. West Current Business Personality None. West Linn has NO business personality among most businesses. West Linn still has a paper mill and no one mentioned it as part of the image of West Linn. Brush away sand. Get more sand. Examples: Silicon Valley known for VC $, South Bay Area known for Bio Tech, Hillsboro known for Silicon Forest. What’s cool. Schools, parks, concerts, trees – reasons to live here not employment or business innovations. Brain Power. No one points to a leader in the business community, other than a banker or two, who is the paternal figure in West Linn. You need some significant businesses to “own” things and motivate people and clarify the WL image. No business personality also means no recognizable brand or image and therefore no reason to move business to West Linn. Closest you get is a “bedroom community. ” I moved to West Linn to raise my family. I already lived in West Linn. It was just the timing for me to start my business and had nothing to do with West Linn or city government. 2015 Research 13 10

Barriers to Using WL Storefronts Always vacancies – “I avoid vacant businesses. It’s like Barriers to Using WL Storefronts Always vacancies – “I avoid vacant businesses. It’s like they are dead bodies. I just do not want to go near them. ” It is easy to go to another city. Lake O. , Oregon City and Tualatin are most likely to be mentioned, perhaps because of proximity: If I go to Central Village the business may not be there or have changed. I live on a hill and I’m getting in my car because of that anyway and it is only 3 minutes more to go to Lake Oswego where I know the business will be there. Signage is not available – “I am two blocks from Central Village and I don’t know what businesses are there. And similarly I have attempted to get a sign approved and it was given a NO from the city. And I own my building. I own buildings in Oregon City and it is easy to get a lit monument sign approved. ” 2015 Research 13 11

Businesses Requests Promote businesses here in West Linn now. Space or help for struggling Businesses Requests Promote businesses here in West Linn now. Space or help for struggling businesses. Easier terms for start ups. Shared and collaborative spaces like are available in Oregon City. Lower cost rents like in Wilsonville. Almost every business we talked to knew of less expensive options than West Linn. I know “xyz business” went to Wilsonville/Oregon City. I work out of my home because the prices are higher than in the Bay Area! High caliber, nationally recognized speakers on marketing, sales and branding. Some also mentioned customer service, retention and things that should work for West Linn. Some mentioned CEOs speaking (similar concepts would be Power Breakfasts, CEO Forums, etc. ). Classes on how to work with the City. Some suggested Monthly. City business newsletter. 2015 Research 13 12

In Group Questionnaire City Focus Areas “Most Liked” Most like Least Like Net Promoting In Group Questionnaire City Focus Areas “Most Liked” Most like Least Like Net Promoting West Linn businesses to West Linn community 20 1 19 Fun events like concerts and fairs 13 1 12 Affordable Office space 11 2 9 Grants for storefront and neighborhood improvement projects 11 3 8 2015 Research 13 13

In Group Questionnaire City Focus Areas “Least Liked” Most like Least Like Net Internet In Group Questionnaire City Focus Areas “Least Liked” Most like Least Like Net Internet and broadband service 3 12 -9 Working to find Banking/Finance for businesses 4 10 -6 Supporting the West Linn Chamber of Commerce 2 3 -1 Service Core of Retired Executives (SCORE) 3 4 -1 2015 Research 13 14

Parking -- ALWAYS a factor. Just a matter of time and timing. Must plan Parking -- ALWAYS a factor. Just a matter of time and timing. Must plan for largest opportunities such as fairs, events and holiday shopping (e. g. Bridgeport “build parking and they will come, ” APP Smart Park garages, etc. ) Long run risk: Private developer could build an ugly garage and control rates for holidays and events. Parking barrier areas identified in every West Linn business district. Examples: Old town Willamette – I would rather get coffee from local business but end up going through drive through when parking unavailable. Customers park illegally and in bike lanes to visit Philly’s Steak & Hoagies. Indicated as one reason for business instability in Central Village. Parking from West Linn Library overflows to Gramore/Windermere/ area. Customers park illegally for Bikram Yoga behind Market of Choice. The Market of Choice also feels impacted although happy with uptick in business since the Arch Bridge project completion. 2015 Research 13 15

Derailing Stories If you believe these stories then you are part of the problem. Derailing Stories If you believe these stories then you are part of the problem. These “scary stories” need to change for economic development: No one stays in West Linn, they are just passing through. It’s impossible for businesses to stay in business in West Linn. Networking in West Linn doesn’t work because the Chamber is bad. Businesses fail in West Linn because the rents are too high –or- West Linn rents are unaffordable. West Linn is a tight knit community (worry about gossip; being an outsider). West Linn is not loyal to businesses. City Council can’t agree on anything. City staff does not support local businesses or residents goals. Landlords like keeping space vacant. We can’t afford economic development. 2015 Research 13 16

City Fees Asked about city fees and got “crickets. ” No comments about city City Fees Asked about city fees and got “crickets. ” No comments about city fees were mentioned. Much more likely to mention that Chamber fees were high. City fees are not mentioned by the people we spoke with, however, most business people would encourage the city to reduce fees to help new and existing businesses. Opportunity to have a “business launch package” or menu for businesses so that they can control costs and also not avoid city fees as many home businesses now do. 2015 Research 13 17

Business Needs Biggest goal- Sales. Problem most voiced is rents are too high. Further Business Needs Biggest goal- Sales. Problem most voiced is rents are too high. Further study needed to prove this. Places to go for help in West Linn – unknown. Problem with city is red tape, signage needs, traffic patterns and generally infrastructure. Start ups and new businesses have difficulty breaking into community. 2015 Research 13 18

Chamber of Commerce West Linn Chamber of Commerce is weak. Many long time businesses Chamber of Commerce West Linn Chamber of Commerce is weak. Many long time businesses have left WL Chamber doesn’t have large draw of businesses. WL Chamber doesn’t have strong perceived ROI among many businesses we talked to. I am a business to consumer business so if I go to visit other businesses it doesn’t help my business. I was on the Chamber of Commerce board. Don’t like how they treated staff and I no longer can make early evening meetings. I am on the board of the Chamber of Commerce and it is improving. Solution Work with Chamber to improve it’s ROI. Reduce membership cost. Increase membership and meeting times. Have sub-committees and/or targeted networking to build business segments: I’m not interested in going and seeing the same people and having someone try to sell me insurance. Add additional networking by neighborhood such as Willamette Main Street and other business districts. Could give automatic membership by area like residential associations. Improve networking cross pollination. Have Chamber reps on committees (where qualified). Have businesses tap into their own customer databases to promote city events. 2015 Research 13 19

Networks Chamber of Commerce Neighborhood Associations Main Street Association West Linn Lions Rotary Schools Networks Chamber of Commerce Neighborhood Associations Main Street Association West Linn Lions Rotary Schools City web site Farmers Market (booths, events, Dances, volunteering & PR) Old Time Fair WL Business websites and databases Each business on average should have 200 -500 people they can invite to events. This can generate a lot of interest in community events like concerts in the park. For every 10 businesses you reach and make reach out you can reach thousands of voters. Think hubs and spokes. 2015 Research 13 20

Econ. Dev. Networking Collaboration + benefits to members = trust/sustainability. Promotion of businesses which Econ. Dev. Networking Collaboration + benefits to members = trust/sustainability. Promotion of businesses which increases customers and revenue. Other networking activities do not deliver an ROI. Fun and new events which draw new business and customers. Electronic distribution of information. Hard copy newsletters mailed to local businesses. Meetings of any kind to meet prospects (local artist events, music, speed networking, drinks/food, wine tasting, book clubs, golf tournaments/outings, etc. ) Discounts for participating in networking. Google/SEO (if you google for “main street association West Linn” you get “downtownoregoncity. org”). Social Media. 2015 Research 13 21

Central Business District Concern A central business district is often designated in city planning Central Business District Concern A central business district is often designated in city planning because one district can increase some efficiencies over several far flung and disjointed districts. West Linn has no central business district. WL has several business districts separated. Most logical place for the central business district is at the end of the Oregon City bridge. This gives the easiest proximity to all residents of West Linn. It’s central without a hill barrier. It is a place that is isolated and fed by I 205 and Willamette Falls Drive as well as arteries to the top of the hill. Without considerable development in this area Research 13 believes there will be spill over and “negative externalities” (unintended negative consequences) from Oregon City’s developments and traffic. 2015 Research 13 22

Continuous Noise about Business Real Estate Too Expensive “People leave because it is too Continuous Noise about Business Real Estate Too Expensive “People leave because it is too expensive. ” “Businesses can’t operate on Highway 43 because of high rent and thoroughfare where people do not stop they are just travelling through. ” Shoot anyone who says “light industrial” because the word industrial is a turnoff. Light industrial is not understood by businesses spoken to. Key in on “don’t want industrial. ” “Renting space at Marylhurst because we were kicked out of the library. ” 2015 Research 13 23

Moving from Talk to Action Understand the percentage of support and for what type Moving from Talk to Action Understand the percentage of support and for what type of economic development. Offer classes on how to get involved and improve your bottom line. Create a feedback system for the city to rate businesses and landlords. West Linn is family oriented and moves in a close knit way. Have to use relationships to build business in West Linn and businesses are too busy to notice and then they are out of business in some of the scenarios described by respondents. Need to explain quirkiness of West Linn to start ups and penalties to “bad stories” so that community and business work together successfully. 2015 Research 13 24

Invest Now in Econ. Dev. Pay off on well executed Economic Development is 7 Invest Now in Econ. Dev. Pay off on well executed Economic Development is 7 -10 years. The ROI is well documented and in West Linn it is likely that lifestyle improvements will also happen that are not part of the measurable ROI (i. e. , you can get around better). You can have noticeable benefits immediately in vacant spaces that are cleaned up. Take credit for clean up and improvements before, during and after it happens. Actively work on P. R. to improve and cater West Linn’s business image and personality. Business people are not listening and yet storefront businesses would benefit most from Economic Development. Listen to City staff. They have been working on HWY 43 and other issues for years and they need support to get things done. 2015 Research 13 25

Invest Now in Econ. Dev. Doing economic development in 2015 will improve livability of Invest Now in Econ. Dev. Doing economic development in 2015 will improve livability of the city, improves greenery and improves residents’ views and lifestyle when done holistically. Shut down stupid stories from people unqualified to judge. Educate people to long run benefits of projects and allow venting of short run difficulties and ideally, mitigate any problems created by city Economic Development. Leverage attributes such as West Linn being a safe community. Do not invest now on areas south of the Oregon City Bridge and expect storage buildings, tattoo shops, marijuana dispensaries to go with the half way house. Build parking structures where you want to protect views and greenery. Otherwise you get sprawl and businesses that fail due to parking issues. Parking is a problem in West Linn. Must build parking. 2015 Research 13 26

Hotel No place for business people visiting West Linn businesses to stay. No tourist Hotel No place for business people visiting West Linn businesses to stay. No tourist dollars. Missed revenue opportunity. Historically West Linn has had a hotel. Just doesn’t right now. 2015 Research 13 27

Conclusions Sales is the top concern of most participating West Linn businesses. Businesses interviewed Conclusions Sales is the top concern of most participating West Linn businesses. Businesses interviewed did not say that they do not want vibrant business districts. No (none) study respondents said: I want high density housing or other housing in place of businesses in current business locations. We don’t need any business in West Linn should look into partnering with Oregon City and neighboring communities for cross pollination of business, networking and events. People want fun events. “You will not get many businesses to go to events without a fun reason to be there” (Food, drink, high caliber speakers and entertainment). West Linn has a reputation as a bedroom community. Consider businesses in line with this image. Hotels and Retirement developments. Further quantitative study is needed. Most business people feel the City should help to revitalize business districts and to coordinate design to be like good examples in Willamette or Lake Oswego: “Get businesses using vacant land underutilized spaces” “Make sure areas match surrounding areas or are upscale such as downtown Lake Oswego. ” 2015 Research 13 28

Recommendations Create full time economic development staff. Offer new businesses training and education on Recommendations Create full time economic development staff. Offer new businesses training and education on how to succeed in business. Offer help to businesses starting up to negotiate leases and find networking opportunities. Without GREAT NETWORKING, no economic development will happen easily. Consider subsidizing memberships in networking organizations. Survey businesses to understand key performance metrics of landlords such has how fast they return phone calls, perceptions of value for price paid and expectations if rents will increase or decrease in the future. Also create a secured business index and track overall satisfaction with doing business in West Linn, likelihood to recommend doing business in West Linn and likelihood to remain in West Linn in the future. Tie the secured customer index to the economic development staff’s compensation. Consider also measuring staff’s ability to return phone calls once you are adequately staffed. Include other economic development departments in regular study. 2015 Research 13 29