The last time I drank any Gatorade I was struggling up Mt. Rainier with a full pack and an empty reservoir of energy. I was hoping the Gatorade might help me rehydrate and allow me to reach the summit. Unfortunately, I was hit with terrible cramps and never got close to the top of the mountain. It would be wrong for me to blame my failure on Gatorade, but today I can confess that I have never liked the stuff very much.
I don’t mean to make light of Gatorade’s decision not to build a new plant in Albany. The proposed plant would have been a great asset to the community at a time when good jobs are going to be at a premium. Despite my disappointment, I am also sympathetic to the people we have worked with on the Gatorade project. I believe Pepsico officials negotiated in good faith and had every intention of building the facility. Very few people, including me, predicted the current state of the economy; so I find it hard to be critical of others who were similarly unenlightened. I am also encouraged that the company, in announcing their decision, also committed to honoring the terms of their agreement with the City of Albany, Linn County, and the state of Oregon. Pepsico’s commitment means that while we will not enjoy the benefits of a major manufacturing plant, we will receive fair compensation for our involvement with the project.
Pepsico officials have acknowledged that the city, county, and state have lived up to all of our contractual obligations and that the company is prepared to do likewise. We have not agreed on an exact number at this time, but there appears to be agreement on a base figure that will be of great benefit to the community. Our City Attorney, Jim Delapoer, did an excellent job of helping to protect the community’s interests in this project. I think the City Council and County Commission should also be commended for their determination to honor the terms of the contract, even in the face of some vocal opposition. If the community had retreated from its commitments, we would not be in a position to receive compensation today. The great work of Diane Taniguchi-Dennis, Mark Shepard, Stewart Taylor, Helen Burns Sharp, John Pascone, and Dick Ebbert should also be acknowledged.
Albany will not be alone in facing difficult economic news. Hewlett-Packard in Corvallis has already announced significant layoffs, and Eugene has experienced a major plant closure in recent months. The Gatorade payment will give the Council an opportunity to consider options that could protect city residents from service reductions and/or complete needed facility and infrastructure projects. Very few cities will have this luxury in months ahead.
I have never been much of a Gatorade consumer, although my son often buys it by the case. I won’t discourage him from buying it in the future. He seems to like blue Gatorade the best; and given my feelings today, that seems entirely appropriate.