Economy

Working Poor
6:00 am
Wed September 24, 2014

Oregon's Working Poor: Benefits Cliff

Lynne Chartraw in her living room
Credit John Rosman / OPB

This week we bring you stories of Oregon’s “working poor,”  people who are employed but still struggling to pay the bills. As people living in poverty find jobs and begin to earn a wage, they face another challenge: the benefits cliff.

For the first time in her life, Lynne Chartraw is taking a paid vacation. The single mom is spending her summer day off hosting a motley crew of teenage boys in her Bend apartment. Her two sons are here with six friends playing poker and video games.

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Auction
10:16 am
Tue September 23, 2014

Lane County Surplus Auction Features Vehicles, Equipment

Credit hansen-auction.com

If you need a car – perhaps a Ford Crown Victoria – a motorcycle, a guitar or even clothes, Lane County has an opportunity for you.

It’s the County’s annual on-line sealed bid auction of hundreds of surplus items.  The auction, heavy on vehicles and equipment, will be held on-line September 25th through 27th.

Items may be viewed at the Lane County Fleet Services Building Thursday and Friday from 8 to 5, and Saturday, 8 to 3.

More information available by clicking on “2014 Fleet Auction” on the Lane County home page.

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Working Poor
6:25 am
Tue September 23, 2014

Oregon's Working Poor: Wages

Rhonda Harvey and her family.
Credit John Rosman / OPB

A new census report shows Oregon's poverty rate rose to more than fifteen percent in 2013.  In this series, we meet several families who are “working poor” or living below 200 percent of the poverty line. We visit Malheur County, which for the past decade, has had some of the highest rates of both poverty and unemployment in Oregon.

 
Rhonda Harvey sits at the back of a hotel classroom in Ontario.

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Working Poor
6:43 am
Mon September 22, 2014

Oregon's Working Poor: Housing

Alaina Campos comforting her daughter Lexi outside the library in Redmond.
Credit John Rosman / OPB

This week we bring you stories of Oregon’s “working poor,” or those who are living below 200 percent of the poverty line.For many families, housing eats up the biggest portion of limited budgets. Amanda Peacher reports from Central Oregon, where the rental market is especially challenging for low-income workers.

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Eugene Business
6:00 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Euphoria Chocolate Company: Its Past, Present and Future

Bob Bury (left) has sold Eugene's Euphoria Chocolate Company to Van Glass (right). They spoke with Claude Offenbacher in the KLCC studios.
Credit Rachel McDonald

The Euphoria Chocolate Company of Eugene was founded in 1980 by Bob Bury and his wife, Sue Subbot.  They're retiring, having just sold the business to Van Glass, a software executive, and his wife, Bonnie.   Bob and Van, seller and buyer, joined us to discuss Euphoria...and all things chocolate.

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Oregon Employment
11:20 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Oregon's Unemployment Rate Goes Up in August

The state employment department reported Tuesday Oregon's unemployment rate rose last month to 7.2 percent.
State Labor Economist Nick Belieciks:

Belieciks: "The unemployment rate increase in August wasn’t caused by more people losing their jobs. It had to do with a large increase in Oregon's labor force. This can happen because of faster population growth or when more people start looking for work because they feel their job prospects are improving."

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Washington Marijuana
6:28 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Not enough weed to go around in WA pot industry

Two bags inside Main Street Marijuana in Vancouver, Washington on opening day.
Credit Josh Rosman / OPB

It’s been two months since retail marijuana stores opened in Washington state. Already, the state says sales have exceeded $10 million. But the supply of pot has also been tight, meaning some retail stores in the state can’t be open as often as they’d like.

Washington’s burgeoning retail marijuana industry is getting off to a slow start.
Take this store in Vancouver, which was closed at times last month.

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Oregon Economy
8:43 am
Sun September 14, 2014

Oregon's Workers Compensation Costs To Drop For Second Straight Year

Logo for the Department of Consumer and Business Services
Credit www.oregon.gov/consumer.businessess

Oregon's workers' compensation costs have dropped for a second straight year. The Department of Consumer and Business Services announced last week costs will decrease an average of 5.3% in 2015.

The Department approved the decrease in Oregon's "pure premium," which is the price employers pay insurers to cover anticipated workers compensation costs. Department of Consumer and Businesses Spokeswoman Lisa Morawski says in the last few years the state, private businesses, and insurance companies have focused on improving workplace safety and health.

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Agriculture
10:27 am
Sat August 30, 2014

Shorthanded Farmers In Oregon Say Drivers Cards Would Help Labor Force

Oregon agriculture groups say many farms are critically shorthanded. Some farmers say they'll support Measure 88, allowing Oregon residents who don't have the necessary paperwork for a driver's license to get a driver's card instead.
Credit PattieS/iStockphoto.com.

Oregon farmers say they are having difficulty putting laborers to work because many of them can't get drive legally. Voters could approve a law in November to help with that. Oregon Ballot Measure 88 would create a four year drivers card for those who meet other qualifications other than proof of legal presence in the U.S. Opponents are worried access to drivers cards' will enable drug trafficking and encourage illegal immigration. Oregon Farm Bureau President Barry Bushue disagrees and supports Measure 88.

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Marijuana
6:00 am
Fri August 15, 2014

Safety First: Will Legal Pot Grow Security Requirements Be Enough?

Security cameras sit high about the blacked-out, chain link fence at Black Dog Acres, in Goldendale July 3, 2014. Even though the grow area is in the middle of a 2-acre lot regulations mandated that the fence and all the other security protocols be follow
Joe Barrentine The News Tribune

Over the last few days we’ve been looking at Washington’s latest agricultural crop – legal marijuana. Today in our final installment of our series “First Cut,” we take a look at security on these new farms. Pot grow operations have state-required alarm systems, dozens of cameras and tall fences. But some growers say they aren’t worried about theft and violence. Should they be?

Pot farmer Susy Wilson doesn’t like keys and locks much.

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