Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Keeping the "E" in SWEA

SouthWest Employment Area

At the most recent Stakehokder Advisor Committee meeting for the Southwest Emoloyment Area (SWEA) last Tuesday, a first draft of code amendments regarding land use tables for different zones was presented.  Besides my shock and anger over new, inappropriate uses for the NC zone, the SWEA advisory committee veered off course - or was led off course into discussions about what types of businesses should go into the land currently zoned Industrial.  The area is supposed to be devoted to EMPLOYMENT.  High quality jobs.  Most envisioned the area as a business park keeping light industrial as is.

During the discussions, the talk went to "walkability", "mixed-use" that included housing with commercial (shops, restaurants, etc.) below.  I was envisioning the letters GC in my mind, figuring they would come back to the goal of EMPLOYMENT soon enough.  Not so much.

Below is a chart of how much floor area it takes per employee for several different classes of businesses.  Note that some businesses need more land (per employee) for parking than others, such as restaurants.  Data are compiled from the North American Industry Classification System.  It is clear which classifications would bring the highest employment numbers to the area.  But what would bring the highest land value, or employee wage?   These are NOT the same thing, and this is where the SAC is having difficulty staying focused.  Or perhaps the primary goal was to increase land value and employment is secondary.  I have my suspicions.

Note the high floor-to-employee ratio for mini-storage.  This use was added to the industrial area next to Boones Ferry Rd. as an overlay a couple of years ago because some land owners and realtors thought the area should include commercial uses. This should show that some stakeholders - some on the advisory committee - have self-interests that may not have the same goals as the committee's purpose - to increase quality employment.  (BTW - apartments have very high floor area-to-employee ratios since apartments are basically warehouses for people, but multifamily has a very high per SF property value which would be of interest to property owners and real estate brokers.

LAND USE: Recommended floor area per square feet per employee
Manufacturing                                                    500
Wholesale, Transportation, and Utilities.        1,000
Retail.                                                                  700
Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate.                  350
(FIRE) (not including mini-storage)
Services (not including food services).               400
Government/Education.                                      300
Food Services.                                                     200
Mini-Storage.                                                  20,000

EMPLOYEE WAGES:  U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor and Industries, 
Occupational Employment Statistics:  (some jobs average less than 40 hours per week)
Job Category                                     Median hourly wage
Manufacturing  (production of goods)
All employees.                                                   $25.11
Non-supervisory employees.                             $19.80
Sales - incl. scientific and technical.                 $35.28
Sales - not incl. scientific and technical.           $26.12
Truck driver.                                                      $18.73
Laborers.                                                            $17.73
All employees.                                                  $22.72
Cashier.                                                               $ 9.17
Retail sales.                                                        $10.23      
Customer service rep.                                        $11.82
Manager.                                                             $18.11
Finance, Insurance and Real Estate.
All employees.                                                   $25.40
Professional Services
All employees.                                                   $29.92
Professional - legal, accounting, etc.                 $32.72
Non-supervisory.                                                $24.60
All employees.                                                    $25.11
Food Service 
Waitress/Waitor.                                                   $8.98
Restaurant cook.                                                 $10.67
Food service supervisor/manager.                      $13.72      
Fast food cook.                                                     $8.90

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