EDC reports on fund-raising efforts

  • BRYAN CORLISS / Herald Writer
  • Monday, November 27, 2000 9:00pm
  • Local News

By BRYAN CORLISS

Herald Writer

MILL CREEK — The Snohomish Economic Development Council is more than halfway to its goal of raising $3.5 million for a stepped-up campaign to draw high-tech businesses to the county, officials said Monday.

The campaign, which has been under way for several months, was kicked off formally during the council’s annual meeting Monday.

The goal is to develop a $700,000 annual budget for the public-private partnership for each of the next five years, council President Deborah Knutson said.

So far, the group has raised $2 million toward that goal, officials said. That total includes a $100,000 commitment from Snohomish County and $50,000 each from the port and the city of Everett.

The money would pay for additional staff and a stepped-up marketing campaign targeting new high-tech jobs for the county. "We need to change our outdated image of Snohomish County, both inside and outside," Knutson said.

That in turn could lead to 4,000 new jobs, each paying a "living wage" of $38,000 to $43,000 a year, she said.

Biotech companies will be among those the marketing effort will be aimed at, Knutson said.

Biotechnology can be an economic force, said Lee Hartwell, president and director of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

A half-dozen companies, including Immunex, which has facilities in Bothell, have been spun off from research done at Hutchinson, he said, and the center has launched a technology transfer program "in order to get those ideas to the next step, to make them more applicable to the for-profit sector."

The companies will need affordable land for their offices, he said, an advantage Snohomish EDC officials tout when comparing the county to the existing high-tech corridor along Lake Washington’s east side.

But the mostly younger workers the industry attracts also will need affordable housing for their families and good schools for their children, Hartwell said.

And because "this whole sector is built on highly trained people," it’s important for groups like the council to support increased funding for university and community college courses to train more workers, he said.

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