SALEM, Ore. - Governor John Kitzhaber called the Special Session after he said Nike was being courted by other states for a major expansion. The Democrat said he wanted lawmakers to authorize the governor to extend Nike an offer: In exchange for freezing the way Oregon calculates its taxes for as long as 30 years, Nike would agree to spend at least $150 million in capital improvements and expand by at least 500 jobs. Lawmakers grumbled about the short timeframe to consider the proposal, but in the end relatively few voted against it. Democratic Senator Mark Hass said it was a fair bargain.
"Nike simply told us that they want to expand and make a long-term commitment to Oregon. I think then, Oregon should make a long-term commitment to Nike. So that's what this bill does," Hass says.
The same offer will apply to any company making as big an expansion. Some lawmakers wanted to extend the deal to smaller companies, but the legislature rejected that idea.