Transportation

Strengthening Tigard’s Industrial Core

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Overview

The City of Tigard identified its Hunziker Industrial Core as a unique and exciting opportunity to redevelop 138 acres of industrial land in an urban setting to help foster economic growth and provide long-term, high-skill, high-wage job opportunities for the region. CFM worked with Tigard, local stakeholders and the Oregon congressional delegation to secure millions of dollars in grant funding to help execute Tigard’s vision.

Challenge

While the benefits of the project are clear and compelling, necessary infrastructure improvements were cost-prohibitive for Tigard. The total cost of public infrastructure (roads, water, waste water and storm water) necessary to support private development in the Hunziker Industrial Core was estimated at more than $8 million. Even after CFM’s state lobby team secured $1.5 million in funding from the State of Oregon, there was a large funding gap to fill to bring this project to fruition.

Approach

With extensive knowledge of federal funding streams, CFM identified the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Public Works grant program as the best fit for the City to pursue. CFM organized project tours and meetings with EDA officials in Oregon and Washington, DC to discuss how well the project aligns with EDA’s funding priorities and worked with City staff to draft and edit grant applications for EDA’s two-phase application process.

CFM prepared lobbying materials, organized meetings in Oregon and DC and secured enthusiastic support from the Oregon congressional delegation. In the following months, however, Tigard would be repeatedly informed by EDA that the Hunziker project was being held up by a variety of bureaucratic red tape.

With experience maneuvering the intricate processes of federal agencies, CFM began organizing conference calls with EDA officials and coordinated outreach with the congressional delegation to help move the project over bureaucratic stumbling blocks.

Result

Working with the Oregon delegation and City staff, CFM helped secure $2,100,000 in EDA grant funding for infrastructure improvements in the Hunziker Core, one of the largest grants awarded in the region. With funding in hand, Tigard’s Hunziker Industrial Core public infrastructure project is underway. When complete, the project will improve access to 138 acres of underdeveloped industrial property attracting an estimated $36 million in private investment that will create between 150 and 300 high-skill, high-wage jobs.

Major Transportation Funding Package Passes

Overview 

Oregon lawmakers began the 2017 legislative session with the objective of finding bipartisan agreement on a historic transportation package to address Oregon’s aging infrastructure, reduce congestion and improve transit services in the state. A 14-member bipartisan and bicameral committee was formed and met throughout 2016 and 2017 to develop comprehensive legislation, the largest ever contemplated in Oregon and the first transportation funding package since 2009.

Challenge

Any successful package needed to address concerns from myriad stakeholders, including environmental advocates, truckers, AAA and low-income and vulnerable population advocates. In addition, CFM’s client, Salem-Keizer Transit, and other transit stakeholders were concerned that transit investments, and the method for paying for them, would be seen as too controversial and left on the cutting room floor. How do you develop a package robust enough to provide transportation investments throughout the state, including Oregon’s first stable funding source for transit, while also keeping costs low enough to not anger fiscal hawks and stakeholders concerned with rising gas taxes?

Approach

Working with transit advocates and our client, CFM helped execute a comprehensive messaging and advocacy strategy that ensure transit was a key component of any package and focused on stamping down opposition based on fears of regressivity and equity. That included regular attendance at public hearings throughout Oregon during 2016 and 2017 where transit voices and riders could communicate their needs to leaders. It also included a strong legislative presence where those benefiting from future enhanced transit services resulting from the package could educate lawmakers on the dire need around Oregon. Utilizing those existing and powerful voices in a strategic manner, while also keeping up pressure on lawmakers, was an effective method of engagement.

Result

HB 2017 passed with comfortable margins in both chambers and was signed into law 30 days post session. Strategic efforts resulted in transit being one of the least controversial portions of the transportation package due to the benefits investments will bring to low-income and vulnerable populations in the decades to come. This package resulted in transit finally obtaining a dedicated statewide funding source for services – something sought after for years.

Jobs Stimulus Package

Overview

Oregon Jobs Stimulus Package CFM Strategic Communications

Oregon had failed to enact a highway and bridge funding measure for more than a decade, which meant state roads and overpasses were in a greater state of disrepair.

Challenge

While lawmakers could find bipartisan agreement on a funding package, they had trouble satisfying interest groups, which successfully referred measures to the ballot where they were rejected by voters. Transportation advocates and legislative leaders needed a roadmap to follow for the 2009 session to develop a package that could pass the legislature and avoid a referral to the ballot.

Approach

CFM was retained to conduct an innovative form of database research to gauge citizen attitudes about public spending to stimulate job creation. Using web-based surveys and focus groups, CFM engaged 3,000 residents about what state efforts they preferred to help economic recovery. The research showed solid public support for targeted public spending on roads, bridges, schools and sewer and water systems. The research also showed Oregonians were willing to pay more for a package that was significant and actually created jobs. Feedback helped state leaders and businesses design a legislative package to fund more than $500 million in construction projects for roads, schools, utility grids and local building projects.

Result

Armed with more in-depth research than ever before, legislative leaders and transportation advocates crafted a funding measure that followed the contours of research findings. The legislative package was double-checked with follow-up research that involved asking respondents of the first survey to comment on how well the package met their expectations. The funding package sailed through the legislature, there was no referral and it went in effect just as the recession hit Oregon, providing a job stimulus when it was needed most.

Opening the Keizer Transit Center

Overview

CFM: Opening Salem Keizer Transit Center

After receiving federal and state grants, Salem-Keizer Transit wanted to maximize opportunities at the groundbreaking and grand opening of the new Keizer Transit Center. It retained CFM, which had helped secure federal funding for the center, to ensure both events were well-attended and served as opportunities to talk about the value and benefits of public transportation.

Challenge

The design of the center was a collaborative effort with riders, SKT personnel, local businesses and neighborhood residents. The center is one part of SKT’s new service design using the three Cs – circulators, collectors and centers. SKT wished to celebrate all three elements at Keizer Transit Center events, while making sure it said thank you to everyone who had a hand in the center.

SKT desired the right mix of political, government agency and business leaders to attend. The event needed to be unique and provide opportunity for attendees to connect with local, state and congressional leadership. The event also needed to get the attention of the local media for SKT to share the story of the Keizer Transit Center.

Approach

CFM secured Oregon Senator Ron Wyden and Congressman Kurt Schrader as keynote speakers for the grand opening. CFM designed an event program that allowed the SKT general manager, board president and other agency leaders to talk about the transit agency’s role and value. CFM identified, invited and coordinated attendance by key local leaders and influencers.

Result

More than 100 local leaders and influencers attended the event and heard about the efficiency of transit and economic development benefits of the Keizer Transit Center. SKT officials thanked those who secured funding and acknowledged people involved in the design and construction of the center.

The events earned wide media attention, which helped the agency share its successes and its story about making Keizer more attractive for residents and businesses and offering more choices to reduce single care occupancy.

Preventing Airspace Restrictions on Pearson Field

Preventing Airspace Restrictions on Pearson Field

"Pearson Field 1" by John Kloepper. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons 

Overview

With little notice, Federal Aviation Administration officials proposed restricting airspace at Vancouver’s historic Pearson Field, which could have resulted in significant flight delays and safety issues. Vancouver called in CFM, which rallied congressional support, forced a public airing of the proposal and ultimately led to the restrictions being dropped

Challenge

On September 20, 2012, Vancouver and local pilots were formally notified of a new FAA regulation that would significantly change aircraft access in shared airspace between Vancouver’s Pearson Field and Portland International Airport. The plan was to go into effect in just 10 days after the notice.

The FAA wanted to impose an 8-mile-long, 1-mile-wide and 2,100-feet-high airspace restriction, dubbed the "Pearson Box." With implementation of the Pearson Box, departing aircraft would have been delayed up to 30 minutes until Portland International Airport controllers created a sufficient operational window to allow takeoffs. Delays would have an impact for planes landing and taking off in Portland.

These delays could have caused commercial airport operations and other tenants to depart Pearson Field, increasing operating deficits and ultimately forcing its closure. Pearson is the only remaining general aviation airport in Southwest Washington with an instrument approach.

Approach

CFM worked closely with city officials, airport stakeholders, the Port of Portland and the Washington and Oregon congressional delegations to provide information on the FAA action and advocate for an immediate delay of the Pearson Box. CFM coordinated conference calls and multiple contacts with FAA headquarters in DC to ensure concerns were elevated to the highest level. Washington Senator Patty Murray agreed to lead the effort, which prompted FAA to ask an expert advisory panel to assess Pearson Field issues and recommend a path forward.

Result

In December 2012, the FAA review panel convened in Vancouver. The FAA sent its most senior staff to facilitate the discussion and provide expert counsel. At CFM’s insistence, the panel also included local stakeholders – Pearson pilots, Vancouver city staff and the Port of Portland. Ultimately, the panel threw out the Pearson Box plan and suggested minor communications improvements to allow continued operations of Pearson.

Transit funding for Salem Area Mass Transit District

Overview

In late 2010, the Salem Area Mass Transit District (SAMTD) realized it had a funding gap to build the Keizer Transit Facility. Faced with few financing options, SAMTD needed a plan. CFM answered the call by developing a comprehensive strategy, which led to a $2.8 million Federal Transit Administration grant, the largest grant SAMTD had received in recent memory.

Challenge

With Congress suspending the time-honored use of earmarks to fund special projects, federal transportation administrators would use discretionary grant programs to distribute all transit funds. Because of the shift in policy, competition for these funds increased. In addition, smaller entities such as SAMTD, would find it more difficult to secure grants because the playing field was skewed toward larger applicants.

Approach

CFM organized meetings between SAMTD and key Federal Transit Administration (FTA) officials, allowing our team to fully understand the criteria and objectives of four grant opportunities. CFM also scheduled meetings with the congressional delegation, coordinated tours at the site and created partnerships with regional and national organizations such as the Clean Cities program. When grant notifications rolled out, SAMTD had already put together pieces of its application and had stakeholder support lined up. CFM also contributed by drafting much of the grant language in concert with SAMTD staff.

Result

In less than a year, CFM’s innovative and comprehensive strategy paid off with a $2.8 million grant. This project will be a model for other transit providers in Oregon. The transit facility will be a state-of-the-art, LEED certified building with solar panels, geothermal heating and cooling and EV charging stations. Slated for construction in 2012, the project will have a positive impact on riders and the livability of the community, as well as boost the local economy.

Port of Portland: Deepening the Columbia River Shipping Channel

Overview

When oceangoing ships make the transit up to Portland and other Portland area deepwater ports, they have to travel over 90 miles along a river, the Columbia, which is known both as a hub for commerce, as well as a tourist attraction. But, at the same time, the Port of Portland (and other Ports at Longview, Kalama, Vancouver have to compete against other deepwater Ports with no such 90-mile inland transit -- Ports such as Los Angeles, Long Beach and Seattle. The question: How to make Columbia River ports more competitive. The answer: Deepen the Columbia River channel from 40 feet to 43 feet to allow deeper-draft ships to make the transit.

Challenge

The deepening project made sense from an economic development standpoint, but it proved to be a challenge to get all financial participants -- the State of Oregon, the State of Washington and the federal government -- on the same page at the same time.

Approach

In the first session, CFM, with help from Port staff, conceived of an innovative idea to get the State of Oregon to buy in to a financing plan that would stretch over more than one two-year budget period. It was contract language in a specific bill that, in essence, committed the state to the project, even though it would have been possible for state to shelve the project later. To achieve this, CFM capitalized on its relationship with the co-chairs of the Joint Ways and Means Committee, as well as with the chair of the Economic Development Subcommittee. Early on, it was these three relationships that assured success for the project. Later, CFM worked with the Governor's Office and new leaders of the Joint Ways and Means Committee to assure approval of Oregon's full share of deepening costs.

Result

Today, the deepening project is nearing completion and the new channel will play a key role in enabling the Port of Portland, as well as other ports along the river, to maintain their competitive venture in the marketplace. The successful venture also benefitted another CFM client -- the Columbia River Pilots – the group of professionals who pilot ships up and down the Columbia to several ports, including the Port of Portland.