As the primary agency tasked to spur economic development in the Mid-Willamette Valley, Oregon’s Strategic Economic Development Corporation (SEDCOR) is focused on attracting new Japanese investors, as well as retaining and growing existing ones in Marion, Polk and Yamhill counties.

SEDCOR recognizes natural resources, particularly agriculture and wood products, as the historic base of the regional economy, and sees a distinct advantage in targeting the supply chain of those industries, including food and beverage production, logistics and advanced manufacturing.

In food processing, Japanese-owned Yamasa and St. Cousair have contributed significantly to making Oregon one of the country’s largest producers of food and agricultural products.

“The businesses that we have here love being here,” said SEDCOR President Erik Andersson, who believes the best way to secure and retain foreign investment is through building strong personal relationships with members of the community and reaching out to potential partners.

Andersson has a deep appreciation for Japanese companies in the region because of the clear commitment given to their local communities.

“The types of businesses that we experience coming from Japan have really become valued members of the community here. They’ve become long-standing members once they make the decision to come here. They invest not just in facilities, but also invest in their employees,” Andersson said.

Located less than an hour south of metropolitan Portland, the Mid-Willamette Valley is a strategic West Coast logistics hub in contrast to other congested areas on the coast.

“For any company that’s looking at access to markets from a distribution standpoint, we are well-situated. They are able to get down south to California or up north to Seattle and even to the East Coast and international markets due to the port facilities, which are easily accessible from this corridor,” Andersson said.