Economy

Economy, Business, Finance & Labor

Oregon's Working Poor: Housing

Sep 22, 2014
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.

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.

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."

Not enough weed to go around in WA pot industry

Sep 16, 2014
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.

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.

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.

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.

Rachael McDonald

A goat dairy near Dexter is suffering from its own success. What's been a labor of love for many years is becoming impossible to sustain without an infusion of cash. Ferns' Edge Dairy is turning to crowd-funding to stay alive.

Shari Reyna has been tending her Mt Zion Dairy Goat herd on this land southeast of Eugene since the 1970s. She and her partner Fred Warner own Ferns' Edge Dairy which produces popular chevre and other cheeses.

Reyna takes me on a tour of the dairy.

oregon.gov

The Oregon Department of Agriculture is hosting international buyers this summer and fall. Visitors from Japan, China, and the Middle East are looking at export products like berries, nursery stock, and specialty or gourmet foods. International Trade Manager Theresa Yoshioka says hosting potential buyers is part of a two-pronged approach at marketing in Oregon.

U of O News

The big data conversation comes to Eugene this weekend. The U of O is hosting a “Big Opportunities with Big Data” meeting Friday.

According to the International Data Corporation, this year, the world will store over two zettabytes of data, or the equivalent of 36 million years of HD video. If those numbers are hard to comprehend, that’s the point. It’s hard for traditional analytical methods to deal with. Andy Berglund is Dean of U of O’s grad school. He’s been giving a lot of incoming freshmen the same advice:

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