Expanded Facilities Will Boost Construction and Manufacturing Jobs
“Oregon has had one heck of a week for semiconductors,” according to Senator Ron Wyden, who along with other leaders marked a planned $1 billion expansion by Analog Devices in Beaverton and anticipated expansion by Intel in Washington County.
The week started when Governor Kotek notified lawmakers of her intent to award Intel $90 million in state funding for its expansion. Intel has filed paperwork to build the fourth phase of its D1X manufacturing facility in Hillsboro and upgrade its D1A facility in Aloha, the company’s original Oregon campus. The expansions will begin in 2025 and be finished by 2029. Intel has not put a price tag on the new facilities.
The $90 million was part of a package of incentives proposed by Kotek and approved by the 2023 Oregon legislature to promote semiconductor manufacturing in the state. Fifteen percent of the nation’s computer chip workers are in Oregon, which led Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo in a recent visit to dub Oregon the nation’s semiconductor hub.
The federal CHIPS and state CHIPS acts are intended to encourage increased domestic semiconductor production amid growing political tensions with China over Taiwan, which produces 65 percent of the world’s semiconductors. U.S. production stands at 10 percent.
Expanded facilities will create significantly more job opportunities. Intel employs 22,000 people at its Oregon facilities and Analog Devices employs 960 workers here.The Analog Devices expansion includes hosting Semiconductor Advance Manufacturing University (SAMU) that will offer eight-week courses to train semiconductor workers on equipment maintenance. A company statement said SAMU will target U.S. military veterans, people re-entering the workforce and existing factory operators. The first course begins in October.
Kotek Signs Education Bills
Kotek signed legislation providing a record $10.2 billion for K-12 education over the next two years while warning more work remains to improve student literacy and ensure student mental health.
Lawmakers authorized $90 million to overhaul the state’s early literacy instruction, which can be used to obtain curricula that feature phonics, train and coach teachers and offer tutoring to struggling readers. Early literacy improvement was Kotek’s top educational priority for the 2023 session. “This effort will take more than one bill, one budget line, one session, to see all the progress we need and want,” Kotek said.
House Bill 3198 provides incentives to switch to reading programs based on research but doesn’t force individual school districts to apply for grants for such curricula. Kotek promised “pointed follow-up” with districts that don’t apply.
House Bill 3005 provides $50 million for child care building and equipment.
Senate Bill 283, the legacy bill for Senator Michael Dembrow, D-Portland, who is retiring, focuses on retaining educators. It allows school districts to pay premium salaries for special education teachers and offers mentorships and apprenticeships to attract and retain teachers of color.
SB 283 also tees up a pair of interim task forces. One will explore ways to recruit more qualified substitute teachers. The other will evaluate whether there should be a statewide teacher bargaining unit. Individual districts now negotiate with teacher unions. Both task forces will deliver recommendations to the 2025 Oregon legislature.
House 3144 directs the Department of Education to identify barriers and opportunities for Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander students. Initiatives already exist to Black, Latino and Indigenous students. The goal is to develop strategies to overcome disproportionate disciplinary impacts and ensure kindergarten readiness and culturally reflective curriculum.
Kotek followed through by vetoing seven measures including proposed studies of decriminalizing sex work, tax credits to encourage historic preservation, formation of a state bank and the feasibility of a streetcar system in Salem.
She also vetoed $1 million for a career academy in Salem high schools on grounds that funding for career and technical education should pass through an education service district. She executed a line item veto to allow the state more time to recruit and screen candidates for various state in light of Oregon’s new 6th congressional district.