Saturday, October 16, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Prosperity Partnership aims to add 100,000 jobs to region

Seattle Times business reporter

A broad coalition of business groups, community organizations and local governments has formed to try to square the region's economic-development circle: Develop a long-range strategy for the Puget Sound-area economy, get the region's dozens of sometimes-fractious communities to support it, and use it to actually drive development and investment decisions rather than letting it join long shelves of dusty economic reports from decades past.

Members of the group, dubbed the Prosperity Partnership, say they're well aware of the Puget Sound region's reputation for extensive planning and "paralysis by analysis."

"Our region is famous for producing [quality] goods and services," Uwajimaya CEO Tomio Moriguchi, one of the partnership's six co-chairs, told a meeting of regional work-force-development councils yesterday at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center. "Unfortunately, one of those products is studies."

But overcoming that inertia and convincing the region's cities and counties to think of themselves as a single metropolitan area, the partnership says, is vital if Puget Sound is to compete successfully with other areas around the globe.

"If we win the big battles, there'll be plenty of wealth to share" in the region, said Bob Watt, head of government relations for Boeing. "If we lose the big battles, there won't be anything to share."

The partnership set a goal of creating 100,000 jobs in the Puget Sound region by 2010, beyond the 290,000 new jobs already forecast.

The first step toward that goal is a regional economic summit, set for Nov. 19, to start creating a unified economic strategy.

Among other things, said partnership leaders, the strategy will address needed public- and private-sector investments in transportation and education; policy changes in such areas as taxation and land use; and specific industry "clusters," such as health-care and communications technology, that deserve special emphasis.

The partnership effort is budgeted at $900,000, funded in equal parts by the federal Economic Development Administration, local governments and the private sector.

Drew DeSilver: 206-464-3145 or

Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company


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