If you want a picture of progress, there’s a snapshot in our own backyard.
The Port of Morrow has been an engine for jobs and development for years, through aggressive leadership in the front office and industry of all kinds seeing potential in the well-connected and wide open plots.
The state legislature has fueled that machine too, adding $27 million since 2009 for projects extending rail and roads, building education centers and funding water projects. Those projects simply would not have happened, at least at the pace we’ve seen, without money being set aside by the legislature time and again. It doesn’t come out of thin air. Every district in the state could find a use for those taxpayer dollars, but the legislature and those who pull its purse strings are looking for return on investment and good faith.
On Thursday, the Port of Morrow and Rep. Greg Smith invited House Speaker Tina Kotek to tour the port and see where that money has been going.
As the leader of the Democrat-controlled House, all that funding had to cross Kotek’s desk for approval before becoming real dollars that can be spent on the ground. Smith and Port General Manager Gary Neal felt it only fair to show her what’s been happening.
Spending capital improvement dollars should not be affected by politics, and that seems to be true at the Port of Morrow. It’s a dark red district represented by the Republican Party’s longest serving House member, who has earned a favorable view from Kotek (who, by the way, represents the Port of Portland).
We’re not so naive as to be unaware of the undercurrent of political favor guiding such decisions, but we’re pleased to see practical concerns hold more sway than ideological differences.