I'm sure I'm not the only one to have seen the recent "report" from Bill Greenwood, Executive Director of the Clallam County Economic Development Council, in which he trotted out a dozen "potential" new businesses that are "considering" coming to Clallam County.
And I'm sure I'm not the only one who noticed the heavily qualified way most of these "potentials" were described. It was definitely a report heavy on the "ifs," "maybes," "could bes" and flat-out "it's not impossible thats."
Youthful go-getter Bill Greenwood delivers his report
into the welcoming arms of...
Let's start by looking at Greenwood's Big Top Three...
Number One: "A company" that supposedly wants to "put a first-class hotel" close to the Black Ball Ferry landing. Kinda vague, especially given the decline in ferry traffic we've seen in the last decade, but...Let's try to look past that. Then, per the PDN, comes the killer: "But the firm needs a conference center nearby to survive the offseason, Greenwood said."
So, in other words, all the City has to do is pony up the money to build and maintain a sure-to-be-money-losing conference center, and Port Angeles can have a new hotel that will, at best, be at around 60% capacity for four or five months of the year (and lower the rest of the year).
Oh, and according to Nathan West with the City, "no hotel companies have approached city officials with an interest in coming to Port Angeles."
So Number One sounds incredibly iffy at the very best, and, even if it came through, would hardly be a game-changer downtown. The net effect would probably be fewer customers at existing motels/hotels, not any actual new customers coming through.
See also: Port Angeles now has no air carrier.
Number Two: A Lynnwood medical technology firm is considering relocating to either Clallam County or the Tri-Cities area. Again, "considering" is a very qualified phrase, and we know there's at least one other area in the running.
So what's the potential deal breaker? According to Bill Greenwood, "They are worried about what they can find in terms of local employees." Uh oh.
See also: The dismal graduation rates in Port Angeles; the shockingly high rates of opiate abuse in Clallam County.
Number Three: A bottler - of some kind - who is supposedly interested in opening a facility in Forks. It's kind of confusing as to what they actually bottle, since Greenwood mentions both fracking and bottled water, so...But either way, Forks, is a long, long, long way from anywhere, which means super high shipping costs and other associated expenses. And, frankly, if they're talking about 50 jobs, it probably means 35-40, and that's still a smaller number than the number of people who have been laid off from mills closing in the last several months. So, best case scenario (even if this particular long-shot comes in) is a slight ebbing of the highly degraded status quo.
See also: Damn, Forks is in the middle of nowhere - and Clallam County has a real opiate abuse problem.
Man, the water in Forks is just so fracking good!
And these are the Big Three that Greenwood and the EDC are trying to pimp to the community. (See more examples below.) Long-shots and pipe dreams, some built on the same kind of outrageous expenditure of limited government funds that helped get Clallam County into such a mess in the first place.
This doesn't sound very promising to me. This hardly seems like a roadmap to success. This looks like someone who trolled some offices in Olympia, found some business that are potentially on the move, and said, "Hey, maybe it's us!"
I don't think so. But I'd love to hear what others have to say about this EDC report.
Some further highly qualified samples from the report:
A "boat builder company" has "been asked to consider locating on 19 acres of Port of Port Angeles property." (See also this blog's recent post, "Putting the Poor in Port." Maybe if we only charge $200 a month for those 19 acres...)
Another "boat builder" has been "asked to consider 10-25 acres of Port property. Perhaps needless to say, Port officials have not heard back from either company.
A "confectionery producer" who would only employ 20 people would, in theory, for some reason, spend $20 million dollars on a facility. In the middle of nowhere. With a drug-addled workforce. Sure.
A "furniture manufacturer" is "evaluating the state of Washington" for a manufacturing facility. And if you think it's expensive getting confectionery ingredients in, and finished products out, just imagine the cost of doing that with large pieces of furniture.