Shooting for the new NBC [TV] series Grimm seems to be everywhere I turn. Does the City of Portland receive remuneration from the network for shooting the show here, and, if so, what kind of ducats are we talking about?
The sad truth is that it’s more or less the stated mission of all governments to kiss the ass of any corporate interest that might, given the right tax breaks or fee waivers, spend a few bucks in that government’s jurisdiction. You say, “handjob.” I say, “economic development incentive.”
I mention this because if you’re expecting all those Grimm location fees to fill city coffers until we’re hip-deep in shiny new schools, parks and robot police officers, you’re going to be disappointed.
“City permit fees are meant to recoup the costs of doing business, but they are not a big revenue-generator for the city,” says Shelley Midthun of the Mayor’s Office of Film and Video. “The real financial value these productions offer the city is in the large amount of economic development they inspire.”
How non-revenue-generating? It varies, but for example, the MOFV website offers to let you close off a city street for up to 90 days for the low, low price of $218. (Act now and they’ll throw in a Snuggie with a picture of Randy Leonard as a sad clown.) By comparison, Pasadena, Calif.—a very get-off-my-lawn kind of burg—charges $168 per hour for the same service.
The economic development is real—Oregon anticipates over $100 million in direct spending this year by film and video production companies. Using special economics math that supposedly isn’t a crock, this means a $200 million-plus economic impact statewide, thanks in no small part to our sluttishly low permit fees. Portland, like those Snuggies, is priced to move.