Economy

Economy, Business, Finance & Labor

Rachael McDonald

The big box stores and malls are hoping you'll go shopping on Black Friday. Some even pushed their sales back to Thanksgiving night. Small local businesses are doing their own marketing for this Saturday.

Small Business Saturday is a national event with businesses participating throughout Oregon. In downtown Eugene, Toby Sovak, owner of Noisette Pastry Kitchen has joined with neighboring businesses to encourage people to join in.

Amelia Templeton

Over the last five years, shipping logs from the Northwest to China has grown into a 4 billion dollar business. Ports along the Oregon and Washington coast are looking to reopen log yards that shut down years ago and provide the raw material to feed China’s construction boom. But some residents in Newport Oregon say a proposal to export logs there isn’t good for the community, and will hurt Northwest mills.

Rachael McDonald

Nearly half a million Oregonians were considered food insecure in the latest federal survey. Members of the Oregon Hunger Task Force were in Eugene today for a listening session.

The Oregon Hunger Task Force was established by the legislature in 1989.

Director Patti Whitney-Wise is with Partners for a Hunger Free Oregon. She says the state has made great strides but that the recession was a huge setback.

Residents of Newport fighting the reopening of a log export terminal received a reprieve late last week.  The state land use board has upheld an objection by a local condo association.

Residents at The Landing at Newport condominiums are opposing the reopening of the log export terminal by the Teevin Brothers company – citing noise and log truck traffic concerns.   They appealed the company’s traffic impact analysis to the state land use board.  LUBA upheld one of the appeals and sent the study back to the city for revision. 

Austin Jenkins

The state of Washington is about to make a major real estate decision that supporters say will transform healthcare training for the next generation. The deal has also been called “a nightmare.” We’re talking about a proposed lease of Seattle’s Pacific Tower - former headquarters of Amazon dot com. Powerful interests – including Washington’s Speaker of the House – want to turn the Seattle  landmark into a training center for future health care workers and a hub for non-profits. But internal state agency documents raise serious questions about the terms and cost of the deal.

EWEB Proposes Rate Increases

Nov 5, 2013

Come February, Eugene Water and Electric Board customers will be paying more for their utilities, if the board approves proposed rate increases.

EWEB’s management has recommended increases of 4.5% for electricity and 3% for water. For a single-family home, that’s about $6 more per month for electricity and $1 more for water. Spokesman Joe Harwood explains one reason for the rate hike:

Harwood: “EWEB continues to face diminishing revenues due to the continuing low prices that we receive for selling surplus power to other utilities.”

Jes Burns

Oregon is looking at ways to improve train service between Eugene / Springfield and the Portland metro area. It's part of the Oregon Passenger Rail Project.

Oregon Department of Transportation says ridership has increased steadily on trains that go back and forth from Eugene to Portland and up to Vancouver, B.C. Over the next 25 years, the population of the Willamette Valley is expected to grow by 35 percent. ODOT's Jim Cox is Project Manager:

People who anticipate needing help paying their utility bills this winter can sign up now for the Low Income Energy Assistance or LIHEAP program.  The program is available to people who are at or below 60 percent of Oregon’s median income. That’s around $18-hundred a month for a single person.

Jason Davis is spokesman for Lane County Health and Human Services. He says the waiting list fills up fast.

Rachael McDonald

Homeless activists have made headlines in Eugene since the Occupy movement of 2011 brought issues of income inequality to the forefront. There aren't enough shelter beds for the nearly 2000 homeless people in the area. For several months different groups have set up tent camps on public property trying to bring awareness to the problem. They say safe, legal places to sleep are a human right that the city is violating with its camping ban.

Hurlburt: "My name is Tod Hurlburt. Here in the camp, they call me Tinman."

Corvallis Property Tax Measure Up For Vote

Oct 22, 2013
City of Corvallis

November 5th, residents of Corvallis will vote on a levy to maintain library operations, among other city services.

If approved, the measure would increase property taxes by about 82 dollars per assessed $100,000 value. About one-third of the five-year levy is for the library. Other funds are earmarked for the Osborn Aquatic Center, three additional police officers, fire prevention and social services.

Astoria's New Renaissance

Oct 3, 2013
Lisa Smith

Thirty years ago, many viewed Astoria, Oregon as a grim, drug-infested and alcohol-infused place, down on its luck following the exodus of the canneries and lumber mills that once populated its riverfront. Back then, most travelers to Oregon’s North Coast passed through town along Highway 30 without stopping.

But in recent years, increasing numbers do stop, including several dozen cruise ships each year. So what, exactly, has happened to transform this once-struggling community into a must-visit destination?

APEL Extrusions.

Lane County has given a Canadian company a check for 100-thousand dollars as an incentive to expand to Coburg.

APEL manufactures aluminum extrusions in Springfield. It was looking to expand. Lane County Commissioner Sid Leiken says the company was considering going to Arizona. The Board voted unanimously to offer APEL an incentive to re-locate to Coburg.

seiu

The Oregon University System and its classified workers have reached a tentative agreement on a 2-year contract, averting a threatened strike on the first day of classes. The agreement was reached at 2:30 Thursday morning .

Pilot Program Designed To Help Seniors Make Home Upgrades

Sep 24, 2013

A pilot program from the Neighborhood Economic Development Corporation, or NEDCO, is focusing on helping seniors with home upgrades.

“Aging in Place” started a few months ago as collaborative effort between the state of Oregon and NEDCO. So far, they have allocated more than $175,000 to home improvement projects. NEDCO’s Community Lending Director Lynn Meyer says a lot of seniors have been dealing with deferred maintenance or medical issues.

Jessica Robinson

Take a drive down any highway in the Northwest, and you'll pass signs for dozens of small towns. There are more than 700 cities under 10,000 people in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Many of these towns came about because of railroads or timber or mines and now they're trying to figure out what comes next. Today, we begin an occasional series on Northwest small towns.

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