Portland, Ore. (August 24, 2005) – Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski signed a bill Monday at a sound stage in Portland that creates the Greenlight Oregon program, which will strengthen Oregon's film and video industry and create family wage jobs by offering an incentive to production companies to shoot films, television shows and commercials here. Film and television stars Ed Asner, representing the Guild, and David Ogden Stiers, were on-hand for the signing, as was SAG Oregon national board member Mary McDonald-Lewis.
McDonald-Lewis has long been involved with promoting the union film, television and advertising industry in Portland and the state, working alongside advisors to the governor, legislators, and the Oregon Film Commissioner and her office at numerous events and strategy sessions. Along with SAG staff, including Pamm Fair, Hrair Messerlian, Kathy Morand and others, she worked closely with the Oregon Film and Video Office to ensure that Screen Actors Guild played a central role in passing this legislation.
"Oregon's governor, Ted Kulongoski, really understands the importance of this industry to the working man and woman, from writers and directors, to talent, to crew to support. He has actively learned about our work, and will continue to let decision-makers in Hollywood know about the advantages of filming in Oregon," McDonald-Lewis said. "In a time when film offices are closing nationwide, ours has opened its doors wide and said, 'come to Oregon.' We've thrived in this industry before and we are going to again."
Governor Kulongoski said, "My commitment is to the economy of Oregon - and that means standing up for the people who are the backbone of the film industry in Oregon. Filmmaking requires hundreds of highly skilled workers to create magic on screen and to put food on the table for their families. When I look at this industry, I see family wage jobs, tourism, a ringing cash register for restaurants, hotels and small businesses, and millions of dollars in economic activity - here in Portland and across Oregon"
The Greenlight Oregon Labor Rebate offers qualifying productions a rebate of approximately 6.2 percent of wages paid through regular payroll for work done in Oregon and from which Oregon income tax was withheld. Productions must spend at least $1 million in Oregon on production-related expenses to qualify for the rebate. In the case of commercials, a single commercial production company must spend at least $1-million in Oregon within a single year to be eligible for a rebate.
Greenlight Oregon will also offer a vendor rebate, which gives producers a 10 percent discount on the purchase of goods and services in Oregon. Oregon vendors who sign up for the program agree to offer the discount in exchange for the Oregon Office of Film and Video identifying the vendor as a participant in the program. Productions must spend at least $1 million in total production-related expenses to qualify. Commercials, news and sports coverage do not qualify. The rebate is paid by the vendors but is administered through the Oregon Film and Video Office.
L-R (standing): Gordon Sondland, Oregon Film office board chair; Veronica Rinard, former film office executive director; Chris Otto, Valley River Inn manager and participant in the Greenlight Oregon vendor incentive program; actor and former SAG President Ed Asner; actor David Ogden Stiers; Sherilyn Lawson and her husband Bruce Lawson who spoke on behalf of crew members employed by the industry, and director Gus Van Sant.
Seated: Governor Ted Kulongoski, with the Lawson children on his left.
Photo courtesy of Don New