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Click here for the link to the Clackamas County media release.

An unbiased, third-party report definitively shows that the Oregon City economy is significantly and positively affected by being the Clackamas County seat.

Specifically, the new analysis details how county facilities’ location within the city limits of Oregon City:

  • Strongly impacts the city’s employment levels.
  • Generates an influx of spending from non-city residents.
  • Provides economic stability during times of economic downturn.

Clackamas County directly employs 454 Oregon City residents. Those jobs support another 132 jobs within the city. This combined economic impact “exceeds $58 million in economic output in the city.”

Findings also show that the spending of the remaining county workforce who commute into the city support an additional 103 jobs. It is estimated that those non-residents spend more than $29.7 million annually within Oregon City.

The report, written last month, was researched and produced by the Northwest Economic Research Center, which is based within the Portland State University College of Urban and Public Affairs. The center utilized an industry-standard economic model to analyze a wide variety of available data.

The Economic Impact of Oregon City’s County Seat Status features a handy one-page executive summary and one-page conclusion.

“This report unequivocally shows that Oregon City reaps great economic rewards, with no real significant downsides, from being the county seat,” stated Clackamas County Chair John Ludlow. “My hope is that those interested in the benefits of being the county seat will acknowledge the same.”

The analysis also addresses potential costs to Oregon City of having the county’s “large administrative presence” within city limits. The executive summary of the report states that:

“While the aggregate physical footprint of public entities comes at the opportunity cost of foregone property tax revenues, the County (including the Clackamas County Housing Authority) occupies relatively small portions of the city’s tax lots, and this land is largely outside the desirable central commercial district.”

Further, the report concludes that the county “administrative structure has a relatively light physical footprint.”

Another past criticism of county facility locations within the city has been the effect on local parking. The report acknowledges that county employees have an effect on this issue, but it states:

“However, the costs of parking associated with any economic activity should not be interpreted without also considering its benefits, and the research team has not found indications that parking issues are preventing normal economic development in the city.”

Clackamas County commissioned the analysis.

Select quotes (corresponding page number)

    • “NERC estimated that county activity directly provides over 2300 jobs and indirectly supports more than 200 via those employees’ income and spending. Roughly one-fifth of County employees reside within Oregon City; the estimated total annual effects associated with this subset alone exceeds $58 million in economic output in the city.” (p. 4)


    • “On balance, the findings of this study support a beneficial, rather than competitive, relationship between county administration and Oregon City’s economic development.” (p. 4)


    • “…public employers (including the County) may contribute valuably to an industrial mix that otherwise skews toward non-traded sectors such as retail, food service, and health care.” (p. 4)


    • “Oregon City’s status as the Clackamas County Seat has broadly positive employment and output impacts on the local economy.” (p. 20)


    • “…when the private sector is struggling the county serves as an important, stable employer, particularly in light of small localities’ exposure to economic fluctuations.” (p. 20)


    • “As the economy of Oregon City continues to develop, its relationship to Clackamas County is a potential source of both stability and commerce.” (p. 20)


  • “Moving forward, the net benefits of this relationship will likely be determined by the successful integration of a reliable, permanent public sector and dynamic, growing business community.” (p. 20)

For more information, members of the media and public may contact Community Relations Specialist Dylan Blaylock at 503-742-5917.