Vera, Vera Good
Portland, Ore., has long had a reputation for attracting Birkenstock-wearing, bike-riding, tree-hugging residents. Now city officials hope to attract Birkenstock-wearing, bike-riding, tree-hugging companies. (Okay, yes, we know companies can’t really ride bikes.) Last month, Danish wind-power company Vestas Wind Systems chose Portland as the base of its U.S. operations, bringing as many as 1,000 new jobs to the area. And Mayor Vera Katz and city commissioners have instructed Portland’s development commission to take green business seriously when planning the city’s economic future. The move has been hailed by many as a great way to unite environmentalists and business boosters. Critics, however, say the city government is tilting at windmills and should focus instead on more traditional forms of economic development.