Oregon Economic Forum to explore ‘poverty amidst plenty’

Skyline image of Portland

The economy is humming and unemployment is at record lows, yet many continue to feel left out of this historically long economic expansion — a contradiction that will be explored at this year’s Oregon Economic Forum.

 “Reaching for Economic Equity and Inclusion in the Second Gilded Age” is the theme of the forum’s 15th-annual breakfast, which takes place Wednesday, Oct. 17, in Portland.

“By all accounts we are in a robust economy, yet the growth and gain hasn’t reached everyone,” said Tim Duy, University of Oregon professor and director of the Oregon Economic Forum. “We are experiencing the challenges of poverty amidst plenty.”

The event will explore different facets of equity and inclusion issues spanning geographic to racial to gender divides and action that may alleviate the economic damage that stem from those divides.

The keynote speaker is Heather Boushey, executive director and chief economist for Washington Center for Equitable Growth. She is the co-editor of a volume of essays on how to integrate inequality into economic thinking.

Duy will provide the economic forecast with Bruce McCain, chief investment strategist for Key Private Bank.

“At this stage of the economic cycle, equity markets typically climb a ‘wall of worry.’ This year investors have worried about the aging economic cycle, rising inflation, higher interest rates, the potential for a global trade war and other threats to the nine-year bull market,” McCain said.  “The Oregon Economic Forum will provide perspective on whether investors should be worried or whether they can afford to relax.”

Other speakers are Gregory Acs, vice president of the Income and Benefits Policy Center at the Urban Institute, and Nita Shah, executive director at Microenterprise Services of Oregon.

Breakfast starts at 7 a.m. and the program is 7:45 to 11 a.m. at the Portland Marriott Downtown Waterfront. Tickets are $80 per person and $520 for a table of eight.

The event is presented by KeyBank and sponsored by the UO College of Arts and Sciences, Greater Portland, Portland Business Alliance, NW Natural, Port of Portland and The Oregonian/OregonLive.

By Heidi Hiaasen, University Communications