Julia Brim-Edwards, one of Oregon’s most powerful political firms, is leaving Nike.
Multiple sources said Brim-Edwards, 60, decided it was time to hang up after 17 years working for the giant sportswear and footwear company.
Brim-Edwards declined to comment. Nike officials did not respond to phone calls or emails.
It is not clear what she intends to do next, although sources close to her say she has no plans to seek a higher position. She currently sits on the Portland Public School Board and plans to continue doing so, friends said.
She has played a leading role in virtually every major political battle for Nike in Oregon over the past decade.
In 2012, she told stunned members of the Kitzhaber administration that the company intends to move a planned expansion out of Oregon and instead into Texas or Washington, unless it gets treatment. very favorable tax.
“It was very clear that the threat that they were moving – it was unequivocal,” said Curtis Robinhold, the governor’s chief of staff at the time. Jean Kitzhaber. “Julia is very good at this. She is very direct. But she also came to us with a legitimate desire to fix it. “
Kitzhaber called a special one-day session and lawmakers quickly issued Nike’s bid even as critics were screaming that the state should call Nike the bluff.
Nike has promised that if it gets the tax treatment it wants, the company will expand its existing campus in Washington County, invest at least $ 150 million in the project and create 500 new jobs.
In fact, Nike’s growth has exceeded all expectations. It has created over 4,000 additional local jobs and investment in the new campus is approaching $ 1 billion.
In 2018-19, Brim-Edwards convinced Nike to support a new business activity tax that will generate billions of dollars for Oregon schools.
She infuriated much of the local business community in the process. Nike not only supported the new tax, but it allied itself with the powerful union of SEIU civil servants to make it happen. The bill creating the tax, known as the Student Success Act, was enacted in 2019.
“The Student Success Act would not have seen the light of day without Julia, without her dynamism and leadership,” said Nik Blosser, former chief of staff to Governor Kate Brown.
In his latest project for Nike, Brim-Edwards got the company involved in the pandemic. Beaverton Mayor Lacey Beaty, tired of hearing local residents have to travel to Portland International Airport or the Oregon Convention Center to get their COVID-19 vaccine, traveled to Brim-Edwards in the hope that Nike could host a place of mass vaccination. Brim-Edwards donated Nike’s huge parking lot.
With the help of Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue, more than 50,000 people have been vaccinated at the site.
The project made it possible to extinguish the last drops of animosity between the city and the company resulting from a long and heinous battle for annexation in 2005-2006.
Beaty, a lacrosse player and coach, said she and Brim-Edwards got along in part because they “were both talking.”
“As soon as I heard someone quote John Wooden that it takes 10 hands to score a basket, I knew things would be okay,” said Beaty.
– Jeff Manning