Economy

Economy, Business, Finance & Labor

Meeting Date: May 30th, 2014
Air Date: June 2, 2014

Last summer, the Oregon legislature approved $3.5 million seed funding for the South Willamette Valley Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network (RAIN). RAIN’s goal is economic development for our area, which is slowly making the transition from a dependence on natural resources to a knowledge-based economy.

Karen Richards

Governor John Kitzhaber was in Eugene today (Wednesday) to sign a “Declaration of Cooperation” for the new regional business accelerator. The document pledges the state's commitment to the project.

The Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network, or RAIN, is a partnership between local universities, communities and businesses. The acronym is appropriate for the area, and for the growth of new ventures. Governor Kitzhaber remarked that Oregonians embrace rain:

EWEB

Four groups have expressed interest in developing a 27-acre tract along the Willamette River in Eugene. Eugene Water and Electric Board envisions a vibrant, mixed-use "people place" at their Riverfront site.

EWEB has moved most of its operations to West Eugene and has been working for years on a vision for the property along the Willamette River.  Jeanine Parisi is Community Relations Coordinator at EWEB. She says choosing a developer is a key step in transforming the riverfront from an industrial site to something else.

Dalia on Broadway

After a year, a Eugene restaurateur is closing his Lebanese restaurant downtown. Dalia could close as soon as Friday or by the end of May.

Ibrahim Hamide took over Zenon Café at the corner of East Broadway and Pearl in 2009. He decided to bring the food of his native Lebanon to the site and opened Dalia there a year ago. He says it's been a difficult year for a new restaurant, with rough winter weather and construction. Then the landlord raised the rent--effective June 1st.

Karen Richards

The design phase is moving forward to develop the “Market Street District” on 6th Street in downtown Eugene. Friday marked the first of three public input sessions.

The two-acre site stretches from Oak to Pearl, across from the Fifth Street Market. Developers envision the area as a mix of retail and housing. Some of the units will be available at below market rates. Steve Ochs is with the Housing and Community Services Agency or HACSA.

The luxury RV industry took a hit in the recession but things are looking up.  Marathon Coaches just announced it will be hiring at its Coburg location.

Steve Schoelhorn is President and Owner of Marathon. He says the jobs are in exterior paint, production and service.

Schoelhorn: "We are looking to hire about 25 people in the next 90 days if we can and then look to grow our production and our service operations further as the market allows but without a doubt the trend is on the uptick."

Meeting Date: May 9, 2014

Air Date: May 12, 2014

Eugene’s citizens have responded to the Occupy movement and homeless campers with attitudes that range from compassion and active support to outright disdain. But people who have a home and a job may not stop to think about how inequality affects society as a whole. City Club members will have that opportunity when Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist David Cay Johnston talks about the broader societal effects of inequality.

lanecounty.org

Tourism in Lane County continues to improve according to a recent report. Visitor spending pumped more than $757 million into the local economy in 2013.

The report released from Travel Lane County says most of the spending occurred in local restaurants followed by accommodations and entertainment. Travel Lane County spokeswoman Lisa Lawton says room tax revenues are a good reflection of the health of the tourism industry.

deckfamilyfarm.com

Beef prices are at an all time high in the U.S. Industry officials are pointing to extreme weather, particularly drought as the main cause. Oregon's beef industry is seeing some, but not all of those trends.

USDA choice-grade beef jumped to a record high $5.28 a pound in February. That's up from $4.91 the same time a year ago. Will Weise is the CEO of the Oregon Beef Council he says Oregon isn't following the trend like other states.

Desmond O'Boyle

About 75 health care workers and union members protested in front of McKenzie Willamette Hospital in Springfield Thursday. The employees have been trying to negotiate a new labor contract since January when the last one expired.

Workers chanted, played drums, and marched around the hospital. Ken Charpie  is a Medical Laboratory Scientist at McKenzie-Willamette. He says the raise employees are slated to receive won’t offset higher health care costs.

Pages