Friday, November 16, 2012

The Vestas job con

December 1, 2008. "Portland city leaders have offered wind-power giant Vestas Wind Systems $12.5 million in cash incentives to add 850 white-collar jobs in Portland and build a $250 million North American headquarters here, Mayor-elect Sam Adams said." [Portland offers $12.5 million to woo Vestas Wind Systems].

"Under the deal, Vestas would grow to 1,200 workers and into a new real estate development that's at least 400,000 square feet. The company is considering a building with the highest environmental rating possible, a platinum grade from the U.S. Green Building Council. The building could open by late 2011, Adams said." [Portland offers $12.5 million to woo Vestas Wind Systems].

August 18, 2010. "Vestas’ decision to transform the historic Meier & Frank Depot Building, 1417 N.W. Everett St., into its North American headquarters offers strong evidence the private sector is on the brink of a revival." [Vestas lease may revive office market].

"Vestas employs about 400 at four locations in downtown Portland. The new quarters will consolidate the team and allow it to eventually grow to as many as 600 workers." [...] "Vestas is expected to move in the first quarter of 2012." [Vestas lease may revive office market].

November 14, 2012. "Today, the company says it has fewer than 300 workers, and earlier this month it announced plans to cut another 2,000 jobs worldwide. [link in original]"  [Vestas long ago surpassed job requirements for state loan].

Part of the deal, the con, or so it was presented - was that the money was conditioned on creation of jobs.  But the jobs had been back dated, so Vestas is (was already at the time of the deal) off the hook.

"Marc Zolton [the state’s economic development division sokeperson] said Vestas fulfilled its job-
creation obligation on Sept. 30, 2010 — less than a month after the company first announced plans for its project."

"Zolton said the state’s deal required Vestas to create those new jobs within a five-year period dating back to when the state began negotiations with the company. In this case, the start date was October 1, 2008."

Not only was there a con about the job creation - so too about building a headquarters. Vestas didn't, and apparently never intended to do so, build a headquarters - it merely agreed to lease the property in the Pearl. Public dollars paid for the Gerding Edlen building at NW 14th and NW Everett - the once vacant Meier and Frank warehouse in the Pearl. [See my post for details.]

This post was inspired by Jack Bog's Blog wherein he accurately states:
"So much of what the public was told about this deal was false and misleading. First of all, the city and state governments made it sound as though the sweetheart financing was being given to Vestas. It wasn't until much later that it was revealed that the subsidy actually went to Mark Edlen, Vestas's landlord, who has surely surpassed Homer Williams as the all-time biggest single fleecer of the Portland public treasury."
The media continues to be a disservice to Portlanders and Oregonians with its regurgitation of city press releases without even a pause for a thought.

Worse yet city employees and political leadership instead of representing the best interests of the city's - represent only their self-interest. It is difficult not to imagine the existence of payoffs, maybe not in cold cash - but the equivalent.

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