Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Camp Withycombe the center of attention, jobs

Camp Withycombe is getting a lot of attention lately.

Last Friday, a groundbreaking ceremony was held there for a new building which will be dedicated to the 41st Infantry Division--a storied unit which saw some of the fiercest fighting in austere locations throughout the South Pacific during WWII.

The $75 million building will be the home of units from the Oregon National Guard and the United States Army Reserve. Construction is scheduled to be complete in August, 2011.

Yesterday, a film crew spent the day at Camp Withycombe filming scenes from a television show called "Leverage", starring actor Timothy Hutton.

Various locations around the state facility were remade into a fictitious U.S. Army post called "Fort Menig," and rather than give away the plot, I'll let you watch it for yourself later this summer. You might even catch a few of our Oregon Guardmembers who played extras in the episode.

What do these recent events at Withycombe have in common? Like last Friday's ceremony, yesterday's film production brings much-needed jobs to Oregon--a state which ranks second nationwide in unemployment numbers.

"This project brings about a hundred living-wage jobs to Oregon for six months," said Don Baldwin, Key Assistant Location Manager for the production.

The production also employs local film crews, support staff, security and catering companies, he said.

"The money we spend flows through a lot of hands," Baldwin continued. "But it all stays here in Oregon."

Indeed, Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski met with four TV and movie companies yesterday in an effort to highlight Oregon's booming film and video industry. He is asking the state legislature to increase Oregon's Production Investment Fund from $5 million a year to $7.5 million.

The governor said investing in the movie buisness doesn't cost the state--rather it makes the state money.

According to a report by OPB Radio, movie companies not only generate jobs, they also stimulate the local economy.

The report cited a study by ECONorthwest, which found that for every $1 million spent by a production company, $1.1 million is generated for local businesses and workers.

That's something we could all pay attention to.

Posted by Tech. Sgt. Nick Choy,
Oregon National Guard Social Media Manager

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