Hundreds of Pacific Seafood jobs are saved through bipartisan solution to costly new regulations
Pacific Seafood faced new state water discharge regulations that threatened its processing operations in Warrenton, Oregon, a small community on the North Oregon coast. Unless a cost effective solution could be found to manage water discharge from the facility, the 250 full-time and seasonal jobs, as well as local taxes paid by the company in the economically depressed region, were in jeopardy.
• Build state and local political support for preserving the jobs and economic benefits of the processing facility while also investing in new public infrastructure to help the local environment and local communities
• Lobby local, state and federal officials to secure funding for improvements for processing local water discharge
With bipartisan leadership from state legislators and members of Congress, the City of Warrenton secured grants and appropriations to help offset the cost of a new outflow pipe to manage water discharge from the processing plant.
“Gallatin has made our outreach and communications with public officials and the media more effective. We rely on their strategic counsel and knowledge of government affairs to help us achieve our business goals.”
-Frank Dulcich, CEO
OHSU paves the way for decades of growth: Portland’s largest employer secures funding to expand into new waterfront district
OHSU had operated its hospital and research campus atop Portland’s West Hills since 1917, but to position itself for the next century, the university needed room to grow. OHSU launched a major initiative to develop a new campus along the banks of the Willamette River and connect the old and new campuses via aerial tram.
• Position development as an economic and health care initiative of regional and national significance
• Build diverse coalition of local and state supporters for federal funding requests
Funding Win: OHSU and the City of Portland secure more than $25 million in grants and appropriations, plus local and private investment, to launch the waterfront expansion.
Data Recognition Corporation
Underdog bidder for state contract wins multi-million dollar deal to provide testing services for Washington State schools
The State of Washington requested bids for a 5-year, $75-million contract to provide comprehensive testing and assessment services for Washington’s public school districts through the Office of Public Instruction. As the “new kid on the block,” Data Recognition Corporation (DRC) faced an uphill battle in the competitive bid process. It was facing off with the existing state testing and assessment vendor, which was also the largest such company in the country.
• Position DRC as flexible, nimble, customer service-oriented and on the cutting edge of changing technologies to respond to criticisms of existing testing vendor
• Identify key agency and elected decision makers; deliver targeted message through lobbying efforts
Contract Awarded: The Washington State Legislature chose DRC for the 5-year, $75 million contract. DRC oversees all assessment testing in the state.
Shriners Hospital keeps its doors open to children in Spokane and the western region
Faced with a shrinking foundation, Shriners Hospitals proposed closing several locations, including the Spokane hospital. In response to the pending closure, the Spokane community rallied to its support, and as a result, Shriners agreed to keep the hospital open if it could bill insurance companies for patients that have coverage. However, the Washington State Department of Health insisted Shriners complete a lengthy, time consuming and expensive Certificate of Need (CON) process to proceed.
• Develop a narrative around Shriners’ contributions to improved health care for all children and how those contributions would be threatened by the unnecessary bureaucratic process
• Utilize local, state and federal political relationships to set up a series of conversations for Shriners executives to share that narrative with agency decision makers
The Department of Health dropped its CON requirement. Income from insurance companies largely covers the annual operating expenses of the Shriners Hospital, allowing Shriners to continue providing specialized health care services for the children regardless of their ability to pay.
“Quite frankly, without the expertise, advice and strategy of Gallatin Public Affairs, the outcome for our hospital may have turned out very differently. We have Gallatin to thank in part, for helping to ensure our bright future.”
-Gene Raynaud, Administrator, Shriners Hospitals for Children – Spokane
Columbia River Channel Coalition
Presidential and Congressional funding support secured for Columbia River channel-deepening project
The Columbia River shipping channel needed to be made three feet deeper from Portland, Oregon, to the Pacific Ocean to accommodate larger, modern vessels serving the Port of Portland and all ports along the Columbia River. Without a stronger federal financial commitment to the project, billions of American-made and -grown export products from the Northwest and Midwest could be stranded, thousands of jobs could be at risk and ports along the Columbia River would no longer be competitive.
• Leverage and expand the political clout of the existing Columbia River Channel Deepening Coalition to secure, for the first time, inclusion of the project in a Presidential-budget request to Congress
President George W. Bush visited the Port of Portland to announce his support for deepening the Columbia River channel and inclusion of the project in his budget request to Congress. In the following years, the project earned bipartisan support from Congress, championed by U.S. Senator Patty Murray, helping to guarantee its completion.
“The Channel Coalition turned to Gallatin at a critical time in the history of the channel-deepening project, and they helped us achieve success through stepped-up advocacy with our congressional allies and the administration. Gallatin was an effective partner in helping us get the final approvals and key funding commitments to make a deeper Columbia River channel a reality for the Northwest and the nation.”
-Dave Hunt, Executive Director, Columbia River Channel Coalition
Portland scores Major League Soccer team with approval of stadium renovation
The owner of the minor league Portland Timber soccer team, Merritt Paulson, wanted to purchase and bring a Major League Soccer (MLS) expansion franchise to Portland. To secure a team, Paulson needed the City of Portland to approve a public-private renovation of historic PGE Park to accommodate the larger crowds and specific stadium requirements of MLS.
• Leverage Portland’s reputation as “Soccer City USA” to build public and political support for bringing MLS to Portland and making improvements to PGE Park
• Propose and negotiate a public-private stadium financing plan that didn’t tap city general fund revenues, protected taxpayers from risk and ensured that stadium construction and MLS expansion would create jobs and strengthen the local economy
The Portland City Council approved the MLS/PGE Park plan; MLS began play in Portland to sold-out crowds.
“Working in partnership with the city of Portland to make MLS a reality was no small undertaking. Gallatin Public Affairs played a major role in successfully completing the deal. Put simply: Gallatin understands Portland and knows how to get things done here.”
–Merritt Paulson, owner and President, Portland Timbers
North Cascades National Bank
Case study in proactive corporate communications Strategy a community bank boosts customer confidence during challenging economic climate
North Cascades National Bank (NCNB) is a community bank with eleven branches in North Central Washington. Thanks to the worst recession in modern memory, NCNB, like many banks, faced enhanced regulatory scrutiny aimed at assuring bank customers that financial institutions remain sound. When NCNB signed a formal agreement with its regulator in order to improve policies and practices, bank managers were concerned about potential adverse customer and community reaction. They were faced with this question: take charge of the situation, develop a message and communicate – or just react?
• Pursue aggressive, positive communication outreach, stressing NCNB’s detailed approach to meeting all regulatory requirements, its strong financial position and its continued commitment to its customers
• Involve as many constituencies as possible into outreach plan through employee meetings, personal visits to community leaders, media interviews, and direct communication with customers
By being candid and transparent in the midst of a challenging economic environment, NCNB actually enhanced its reputation. The bank reported favorable customer reaction during the outreach period.
Nike fends off government overreach by neighboring city: state law passed to prevent city annexations of major employers
The city of Beaverton, Oregon, sought to force the annexation of Nike World Headquarters into its city limits through a state law that allowed local governments to annex local roads and thereby “surround” certain areas – notably, high property value areas – for annexation. Nike objected to the “island annexation” practice and efforts by city leaders to unfairly apply the laws to Nike and other nearby businesses and neighborhoods.
• Working with an experienced team of government relations, communications and legal professionals, position Nike and other affected businesses and neighborhoods in unincorporated areas as victims of an unfair “island annexation” law
• Pursue annexation law reforms to strengthen the voice of local businesses and residents in local annexation decisions
Legislation backed by Nike and a coalition of businesses is passed to prevent the annexation of major employers into city jurisdictions without their consent. Nike remains located in unincorporated Washington County.
Overwhelming local support clears the path for Monsanto to build Blackfoot Bridge phosphate mine
In Caribou County, Idaho, Monsanto was mining phosphate, which is refined into elemental phosphorous – a necessary ingredient in the popular herbicide Roundup. Monsanto needed a new source of phosphate ore, and identified a site at Blackfoot Bridge in southeastern Idaho. Siting the mine required the company to navigate an extensive environmental review. Other proposed mining projects in the region had received strong opposition during official public comment periods – some by as much as 20 to 1 opposed.
• Nurture and expand public support by proactively communicating Monsanto’s innovative approaches to protecting the nearby Blackfoot River and its tributaries
• Court and inform a coalition of farmers, vendors and suppliers, local governments, nonprofits and employees to be authentic, local voices of support during the public comment period for project approval
Public comment on Blackfoot Bridge came in 5 to 1 in favor of the development, much of the support from the local region. The project was approved without a single appeal filed.
“The Gallatin team has a thorough understanding of the permitting processes as well as a deep reservoir of business and political relationships. By combining systems and sensibilities they’re able to generate genuine, informed grassroots support that’s important for obtaining public consent and necessary permits. Their work was absolutely critical to our project.”
-Trent Clark, Public and Government Affairs Director, Monsanto
First cobalt mine sited in the U.S.: Formation Metals breaks through two decades of regulatory red tape
For the better part of 20 years, a Canadian mine development company, Formation Metals, had been on the long march to permit and operate the only primary cobalt mine in North America. Cobalt is a necessary component in modern products including wind turbines and hybrid car batteries. Formation had staked its cobalt claim on the public land in the mid-1990s, but they were still fighting through the paperwork years later. Formation hired Gallatin to provide public affairs assistance and strategic communications services in conjunction with the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process.
• Attend to community concerns by positioning the project as a job creator in an economically depressed region and a means for lessening the world’s dependence on other controversial cobalt producers like China and Congo
• Integrate Gallatin’s natural resource policy experts into Formation’s staff, in order to identify the long-standing roadblocks and effectively guide the company through them
During the official public comment period, submittals favoring the mine outnumbered those opposed by a 15 to 1 ratio, and Formation received the final authorization on the nation’s first primary cobalt mine.
Public rallies around new renewable wind energy project: First Wind earns permit to build facility
First Wind is a Boston-based independent wind energy company focused on the development, ownership, and operations of wind energy projects from Maine to Maui. When First Wind decided to seek a permit for the Palouse Wind project – a 105-megawatt energy facility on the rolling hills of Eastern Washington – opposition formed, rallying under the banners of wildlife protection and human health concerns.
• Introduce the company to the region and educate community on benefits of the project with a campaign focused on community outreach, media management and government relations
• Establish First Wind as a beneficial community partner through tactics like developing a science-based energy education program with local schools, participating in local fairs, hosting events in the community and establishing a permanent office in the farm town of Oakesdale
Permit Approved: during the public process, positive comments outweighed negative comments 5 to 1. The broad base of support and community understanding of the project was a determining factor in final approval.
“Gallatin’s firsthand knowledge of the region’s demographics and political landscape was instrumental in our efforts to obtain a permit for the Palouse Wind project. We implemented a strategy that allowed us to educate the community and stakeholders about the merits of introducing a large-scale wind energy project to Whitman County. We continue to be impressed with the quality of work from Gallatin Public Affairs and would recommend their services to any company looking to get a project permitted.”
- Benjamin Fairbanks, Western Regional Business Development Director, First Wind Energy, Portland, Oregon
Forest products company overcomes multi-year conflict with state agency and rebuilds community support
Rayonier and the Department of Ecology had been in an ongoing conflict over the cleanup of a former mill site in Port Angeles, Washington, that was classified as a clean-up site under the Washington State Model Toxic Control Act. The sudden and unexpected departure of the company left a huge void in the community and damaged its reputation with opinion leaders and the public. The company needed to re-engage and resolve the conflict with the Department of Ecology to move forward.
• Create and launch a comprehensive, qualitative survey of perceptions of Rayonier and the mill site in Port Angeles, and utilize survey results to develop a plan to re-cast the company and reconnect with the community
• Provide local political analysis and on-the-ground counsel to Rayonier as it navigated its relationship with Port Angeles and Ecology
Rayonier successfully re-engaged with the Port Angeles community, and Rayonier and Ecology signed an Agreed Order to clean up the former mill site.
Boeing stays local with assembly of the “Dreamliner”
When Boeing started its site selection process for assembly of the new Boeing 7E7, Washington State was not at the top of its list. The state’s history with labor disputes and other conflicts with business put Washington at a very real disadvantage. Bold, decisive action was needed to show Boeing that the business climate in Washington was changing – and that those changes would provide long-term stability. When Governor Gary Locke launched a campaign known as Action Washington, Gallatin was hired to devise a communications strategy to woo the aerospace giant.
• Create a multi-tiered communication plan: working with state, business and labor leaders, organize a broad coalition to voice support for the state’s incentive
• Employ innovative message delivery techniques to help state leaders effectively connect with Boeing, i.e. development of a seven-minute video, featuring Gov. Locke and others, introducing Washington’s incentive package
• Build public momentum and excitement through a series of high-profile news conferences and other news-generating events
Washington wins: Boeing announced that it would assemble the 7E7 in Everett, Wash.
Facebook’s investment in Oregon is guaranteed for the long term with the passage of a tax clarification bill
Facebook located a data center in an enterprise zone in Central Oregon with the promise of a property tax exemption for 15 years. As the social media company considered building a second data center near the same site in Prineville, the Department of Revenue surprised it with a decision that would have negated its tax break and tacked on millions of dollars to its tax bill. Facebook needed the legislature to step in with a fix.
• Broaden the discussion to include all high-tech companies looking to build or expand data centers and make the case they need a signal that Oregon is open and friendly to business investment
• Position data center investments as rare large-scale job creators in the state’s most economically depressed regions
• Build coalition of legislative leaders and the Governor to move quickly in short legislative session
The state legislature passes and the governor signs a bill that ensures favorable tax climate for Facebook and other investors in data centers.
Oregon Association of Naturopathic Physicians
Protected and expanded access to naturopathic physicians for Medicaid recipients in Oregon who rely on Naturopathic Doctors (ND) for care
Provider networks set up to manage care under the new Oregon Health Plan, known as Coordinated Care Organizations, were refusing to contract with naturopathic doctors. Patients of those naturopathic doctors, roughly 30,000 of them, were facing the prospect of being forced to change doctors or worse, losing coverage for naturopathic options
• Create a sense of urgency – publicly and politically
• Grow and activate Naturopath community and their patients with digital and earned media
• Develop a broader grassroots base beyond ND community via digital petition at ProtectAccessToCare.com
• Force Oregon’s Governor, top decision makers and policy makers to listen and engage
Oregon’s largest medicaid provider network, representing four Coordinated Care Organizations, agreed to credential Naturopathic physicians as Primary Care Providers – with equal reimbursement rates. The Governor and Oregon Health Authority committed to allow any patient currently seeing a naturopathic doctor to continue seeing their naturopathic provider of choice rather than disrupt continuity of care.