City Club of Eugene: The Economy & Immigration

Apr 3, 2017

Recorded on: March 31, 2017

Air Date: April 3, 2017

With immigration in the national headlines and local 2017 economic forecasts predicting slower growth, City Club of Eugene will explore the financial impact of the immigrant workforce. While immigration is the subject of much conflicting information and opinion, all business people, municipalities and citizens can agree it is important to understand it’s economic impact.

Successful economies on any scale are often measured by productivity. In fact, our social security system, job growth, business return-on-investment (ROI), education funding and many other facets of cultural stability are dependent on maintaining a healthy level of productivity regardless of scale. As the numbers of older people rise and represent a greater financial cost to society in general, how will we assure the economic productivity necessary to meet increasing social costs? This question is being asked in many countries around the world and in many small towns here in Oregon. The answer is to look at the source of that much needed productivity — our people and our businesses — and see who does what and how much, so we know where to put our resources. We urge everyone to “get the facts from those who know” about one of the most discussed topics in current society and its related consequences for us in the Willamette Valley.

Representing business and industry will be Jeff Stone, Executive Director/CEO of the Oregon Association of Nurseries and Kevin Chambers, a fifth generation Oregon farmer, former wine industry CEO and owner of Koosah Farm, a permaculture vineyard, orchard and pasture operation. Representing the labor side will be Joel Iboa, born in Eugene, a member of Eugene’s Human Rights Commission and Coalition Coordinator for Causa, the foremost immigrant rights organization in Oregon.

Biographical Information

Jeff Stone is the CEO of the Oregon Association of Nurseries (OAN) with its 900 members; he was also Director of Government Relations, responsible for OAN’s government affairs program. The nursery/greenhouse industry is Oregon’s second largest agriculture sector, second in the nation, with over $894 million in annual sales — nearly 75% of the nursery stock is exported. Stone served eight years as the Chief of Staff to the Metro Council and eight years for US Senator Bob Packwood (R-Oregon). He serves as President of the Board of Directors of the Nursery and Landscape Association Executives (NLAE), as President of the Board of Directors of the Oregon Society of Association Management (OSAM) and was confirmed to the Board of Directors of the State Accident Insurance Fund (SAIF). He is a graduate of the University of Oregon.

Kevin Chambers is a fifth-generation Oregon farmer, born in Salem and raised in Eugene. While studying for his degree in Telecommunications and Journalism at the University of Oregon, he worked at Of Grape & Grain, Oregon’s second fine wine operation. After serving in marketing, sales and management positions at some of Oregon’s largest wineries, Kevin purchased Oregon Vineyard Supply and Results Partners in late 1997. He sold both of these businesses in 2009, and stepped down as CEO in 2012. He also created Willamette CrossFlow, a high-tech beverage filtration company, and sold it to his partner in 2013. In 1990, he purchased the property that would become Resonance Vineyard west of Carlton, OR, which he sold to Maison Louis Jadot of Beaune, France in 2013. He then developed Koosah Farm in the Eola-Amity Hills, a permaculture vineyard, orchard and pasture operation.

Joel is a son of immigrants from Zacatecas, Mexico and was born and raised in Eugene. He majored in sociology with a concentration in crime/delinquency from UO. Honing his skills in Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA) as a student, Joel entered the environmental justice movement as the Environmental Justice and Community Outreach Manager for Beyond Toxics. Joel serves as a Human Rights Commissioner for the City of Eugene and as the youngest appointed Member for the Governors Environmental Justice Task Force. Recently he was hired to be Causa’s Coalition Coordinator. Causa is Oregon’s premiere Latino immigrants rights organization.

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