Kitzhaber signs RAIN declaration; RAIN appears before legislative panel

On May 28, Governor Kitzhaber signed a Declaration of Cooperation with members of RAIN, a regional partnership focused on innovation, entrepreneurism, and economic development in the South Willamette Valley, during a ceremonial event to commemoration the launch of the initiative.

RAIN is the product of the Governor’s South Valley Regional Solutions Advisory Team effort to support Oregon’s innovation economy. Project partners include the University of Oregon (UO) and Oregon State University (OSU); the cities of Eugene, Corvallis, Springfield, and Albany; and regional businesses and agencies. The goal behind the regional collaboration is to promote innovation-based startups and help commercialize university-based research.

The first phase of RAIN will establish business accelerators in conjunction with the University of Oregon and Oregon State University. Advantage Accelerator at Oregon State University in Corvallis is up and running, with 15 startup companies participating. RAIN Eugene Accelerator is now accepting applications for its first cohort. Both will assist early-stage technology-based efforts by offering mentoring and other resources to help them grow and spin off private initiatives that create jobs for Oregonians.

UO President Michael Gottfredson joined Governor Kitzhaber, OSU Executive Associate Vice President for Research Ron Adams, Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy, Corvallis Mayor Julie Manning, and RAIN board Chair Sabrina Parsons in making remarks.

Following the ceremonial signing, RAIN Eugene Chief Start-Up Officer Joe Maruschak offered testimony to the Oregon House Interim Committee on Transportation and Economic Development on RAIN as a means to support local small businesses. Maruschak thanked legislators for their investment in the project, gave a brief update on the status of RAIN, and offered some thoughts on areas for future partnerships.

Last year, the Oregon Legislature approved funding for RAIN in the 2013-15 biennium, with $3.75 million allocated for capital and operating funds.