Economy

Oregon Immigration
8:25 am
Mon December 2, 2013

20 Years Later, NAFTA's Dramatic Impact on Oregon

Credit City of Woodburn

Twenty years ago this month President Bill Clinton signed the North American Free Trade Agreement into law.  Few foresaw that it would change the face of Oregon.

 

Downtown Woodburn seems to be in good economic shape. Anthony Veliz, who owns a marketing firm here, shows us around:

"All of these businesses here, as we're walking are Latino-owned businesses. King's Den barbershop and we have these little tienditas, little stores, shops, zapateria y joyeria.   We have a Mexican grocery store....we can go in...."

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Small Business
6:42 am
Fri November 29, 2013

Small Businesses Target Saturday Shoppers

Noisette Pastry Kitchen in downtown Eugene.
Credit 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.

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Economy
7:32 am
Wed November 20, 2013

China’s Building Boom Revives Northwest Log Export Debate

A log stacker
Credit 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.

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Food Insecurity
3:00 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Hunger Task Force Visits Eugene

Lane County Farmers Market
Credit 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.

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Economy
7:09 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Newport Log Export Terminal Delayed By State Land Use Board Decision

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. 

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Real Estate
7:33 am
Tue November 12, 2013

Terms And Cost Of Pacific Tower Lease Raise Questions

Pacific Tower is a 14-story former public hospital that the state plans to lease for 30 years for a health college and center for non-profits.
Credit 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.

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Utility Rates
4:19 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

EWEB Proposes Rate Increases

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.”

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Transportation
12:16 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

Oregon Looks to Improve Rail Service

Rail crossing in Eugene.
Credit 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:

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Energy Assistance
12:47 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

Money Available to Help With Utilities

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.

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Homelessness
3:15 pm
Mon October 28, 2013

Is Sleep a Human Right?

Homeless people have been camped in high-profile places in Eugene to raise awareness of their plight.
Credit 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."

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