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PORTLAND-A new task force is preparing to analyze the economic development plans of major cities in the region and see if there’s enough synergy for them all to play out harmoniously. The first meeting is this week and the final report is due back in summer 2003.

Calling themselves the Metropolitan Economic Policy Task Force, the group of economic development professionals will take an inventory of the region’s current economic development studies, plans and strategies, assess synergies and disconnects, and then identify strategies for forwarding the commonalities on a region-wide scale.

“This will be the first truly metropolitan look at what we are currently doing to support the development of our economy,” says Ethan Setzer, director of Portland State University’s Institute of Portland Metropolitan Studies, which provided an assessment of the inventory that will serve as the foundation for the task force’s work.

Rob Drake, mayor of the City of Beaverton, will head up the task force. “There are currently a number of efforts underway … focused on developing economic development strategies,” he says. “What is missing is a comprehensive view of how all of these strategies might work together and what additional initiatives may need to be added … .”

The task force is being funded by Regional Economic Development Partners, a public-private partnership of economic development professionals that has been in existence for 12 years. Contributing members of the partnership include Port of Portland, Portland Development Commission, Portland Business Alliance, Portland Ambassadors and several area cities and counties.

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