Economy, Business, Finance & Labor

Unemployment rates continue to drop in Lane and Douglas counties. KLCC’s Tiffany Eckert speaks with a regional economist about the growth trend and what it means for communities.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Lane County is the lowest since June of 2008. Douglas County is trending about the same, seeing its second consecutive month with job growth.

Brian Rooney watches tracks employment in both regions. He says growth brings a mixed bag of benefits.

Bureau of Indian Affairs

The Coquille Indian tribe’s controversial proposal to build a casino in Medford is facing its first major legal hurdle; getting the federal government to grant the site trust status, making it Indian land. In this second part of our series “Going For Broke,” JPR finds that whether the project gets the go-ahead may depend on how officials at the Bureau of Indian Affairs interpret the fine print of laws and agreements that go back decades.

Liam Moriarty / JPR

The proposal by the Coquille Indian tribe to build a new casino in Medford has taken heat from all sides, ever since it surfaced in 20-12. Federal, state and local elected officials have lined up against it. The Cow Creek Indian tribe is adamantly opposed. And comments from the public at large have been overwhelmingly negative.

Amanda Butt

Living on the street is difficult for anyone to do, but surviving without walls presents even greater dangers to women.

On a Saturday morning, a church in Corvallis fills slowly with people looking to fill their stomachs with warm breakfast food. Within the crowd is Marge Pettitt, a homeless activist in the community. She is friendly and repeatedly stops eating to give hugs to people she knows. But when she’s on the street, she’s cautious whenever she comes across strangers.

A call center planning to open next month in Eugene is hiring up to 250 people. Chris Autry, Site Director for Firstsource Solutions says the company is a businesses process outsourcer.

They're looking to hire people to provide live web-chat services to telecommunications customers. Autry says they want employees with good people skills.

Meyer Memorial Trust

One of the largest private foundations in Oregon awarded over $9.5 million dollars in February alone. Starting today, the Meyer Memorial Trust is suspending its programs to refocus its giving.

The Meyer Memorial Trust was created in 1982 by the estate of grocery magnate Fred Meyer, but is not connected to the grocery store. Kimberly Wilson is with the Trust. She says the seven-nine month hiatus will help the organization be more directed:

Oregon Employment Reaches a New High

Mar 3, 2015

Jobs are on the rise in Oregon. Unemployment is on the decline. That’s the takeaway from State Employment Department’s just-issued January report. 

Oregon employment reached a record level in January, with more than 55 thousand jobs above a year ago. State Employment Economist Nick Beleiciks:

(Beleiciks)  “The sectors that added the most jobs were the broad ranging professional and business services, manufacturing, retail trade and construction.”

Oregon Labor Commissioner Endorses Sick Leave Bills

Feb 17, 2015

Legislation that would ensure all working Oregonians access to paid sick leave received endorsement Monday from the State's labor commissioner.  The State Senate and House are both considering bills that would allow workers to accrue one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked.  This would max out at about seven days a year. Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian:

Emerald People's Utility District

The Emerald People's Utility District is raising its rates effective April first. Like many utilities in the northwest, it's paying more for electricity and receiving less income from selling surplus power.

The state, universities and local governments have invested in startup companies through the Oregon RAIN program. A cohort of five new businesses in Corvallis has just graduated.

The OSU Advantage Accelerator has been around since the summer of 2013. Mark Lieberman is co-director. He says over time, they’ve made the program more formal and rigorous:

Lieberman: “Entrepreneurship is generally a marathon and not a sprint, but the acceleration program is to get them to the starting line and that is truly a sprint.”