Portland, Oregon — Citing a multi-billion dollar state budget deficit fueled by unsustainable government spending and stagnating tax revenues, Portland Governor Chet Oldham today signed an executive order granting administrative authority of the city to the Etsy corporation, the world’s premier online marketplace for handmade and vintage goods, to turn the city’s troubled economy around.
Under the terms of the so-called “Etsy Plan,” the Brooklyn-based e-commerce site will assume virtual control of Portland’s municipal government and put into action a five-year economic development plan largely aimed at offsetting state-sanctioned austerity measures by employing the roughly 8 percent of Portland’s unemployed citizens in the creation of Etsy-approved items.
The target employment pool will also include the approximately 95,000 Portland residents living below the poverty line, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, provided they are of legal working age.
“Portland’s reputation as a mecca for young, creative and often unemployable hipsters is about to change,” Oldham said. “Under Etsy’s leadership, we can reduce the burden of public employee pensions and maintain current spending levels by putting those artistic-types to work — many of them for the first time in their lives — making our famous knit iPod cozies.”
The proposal aims to switch Portland’s chief export, wheat, with the objectively adorable artisanship that Etsy has been renowned for since 2005. Under current budgetary controls, Portland’s citywide budget will be cut 4.3 percent by the next fiscal year. Economic projections indicate that the plan will more than offset those cuts by generating nearly $4.3 billion over the next five years, and yield a budget surplus of $100 million by FY 2018. A new series of sales taxes will be directed to Multnomah County to supplement city revenues.
Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson says he conceived the idea after reading a news article about the dire financial straits of Michigan cities which turned to private “emergency financial managers” to reduce crippling deficits at the expense of local autonomy.
“I thought, ‘why can’t that happen in Portland?’” Dickerson said. “Aside from the zipcode of our office building, Portland has been the bedrock of our customer base for years. Etsy practically invented bird-on-apparel technology, so this is our way of saying ‘thank you’ to a city that literally helped put us on the map by making feather hair-clips and steampunk goggles socially acceptable articles of clothing.”
Dickerson says the first phase of the Etsy Plan will consist of the construction of dozens of LEED-certified, solar-powered arts-and-crafts studios throughout the city, and will employ tens of thousands of the city’s underutilized creative class to design cutting-edge versions of the clothes they’re already wearing.
“By empowering marginalized art school dropouts, bloggers and bass guitarists in the creation of quality goods, we’re lifting them out of poverty, and that’s a wonderful thing,” Dickerson said. “And if they decide to spend their newfound income on our rejuvenating placenta-and-agave body butter, well, that’s even better.”
Subsequent phases of the plan call for outfitting Portland’s homes with knitted “sweaters” to reduce heating costs, designing a rotating seasonal wardrobe for the city’s signature 34-foot-tall Portlandia statue, and reverse-engineering brick-and-mortar restaurants into hemp-powered food trucks.
Ed. Note: Happy April Fools’ Day, Etsy community!