By Mary Erickson Associate Editor
On July 20, 2015, Governor Kate Brown signed House Bill 2171 into law. HB 2171 extends the sunset of the Oregon Production Investment Fund (OPIF) to January 2024, thereby making Oregon more attractive for long-term television series productions.
Gov. Kate Brown
With three television shows shooting in metro Portland this summer, legislative support at the state level has been extremely important.
“What the Legislature provided us with is hugely valuable,” said Nathaniel Applefield, the interim executive director of the Oregon Media Production Association, “which is certainty for the next eight years. The Oregon Legislature has reaffirmed its commitment to Oregon’s quickly growing film and TV community.”
The Oregon film and TV community also sought to raise OPIF’s cap from $10 million to $20 million, but was ultimately unsuccessful. “But with the extended sunset,” said Applefield, “now we’re free to go back to the Legislature in the next session and make the case for why we need more incremental funding to grow the number of jobs in this industry.”
According to the Oregon Department of Employment, the media production industry in Oregon has seen 70 percent job growth in the last five years, with over 350 companies participating in film and television production in the area. That translates to over 3,000 Oregonians employed in the media production sector.
“We were one of the only sectors during the great recession to actually grow and not shrink considerably,” Applefield commented.
The OMPA has turned its focus to some internal matters in the months leading up to the next short legislative session in February 2016. The organization is in the midst of a search for a new executive director to replace Tom McFadden, who resigned his post in February 2015. “The board hopes to fill the position by October 1,” said Applefield.
In the meantime, OMPA members came together on a sunny Saturday in August for the OMPA’s annual summer fundraiser, the Classic Golf Tournament, held at the Stone Creek Golf Club in Oregon City. This golf/croquet/wine tour/dinner event, held on August 21, “brings together people from all walks of life from our community and industry,” remarked Applefield. “It’s a great networking event and it’s always a lot of fun.”
SB 699 Passes in Oregon
In addition to HB 2171, another production-related bill passed through the Legislature this session and was signed into law in July.
Initiated by Celena Rubin, founder of the Art of Makeup School in Vancouver, Washington, SB 699 specifically affects all working makeup artists in Oregon by expanding exemptions for makeup artistry and hair styling. Two years ago, SB 836—also initiated by Rubin—was passed, allowing makeup artists to work in film, TV, stage and professional photo shoots without needing a cosmetology or esthetic license. SB 699 expands on this law, and allows for temporary hairstyling for film, TV, stage and professional photo shoots without a cosmetology license.
The bill, co-sponsored by Senator Ginny Burdick and Representative Jennifer Williamson, is effective as of July 27.