Economy

Economy, Business, Finance & Labor

UO Foundation

Eugene Water and Electric has chosen the University of Oregon Foundation as developer of its property along the Willamette River. EWEB Commissioners made the selection from three candidates at their Tuesday meeting.

The vote was 4 to 0. Joe Harwood is spokesman for EWEB. He says commissioners felt the U of O Foundation has a long term commitment to the community.

B&Bs Vs. Airbnb: Struggling With Short-Term Rentals

Sep 30, 2014
Bill McLean / JPR

New online companies have emerged where private residents offer travelers a place to stay for the night, often at rates cheaper than hotels or bed and breakfast outfits.

Ashland, Oregon is one of the global hotspots trying to reconcile a clash between the traditional hospitality industry and a growing market of private residents trying to make a few bucks renting out a spare room or two.

Ashland resident Tom DuBois rented an unused bedroom to overnight travelers at his house in a single-family residential neighborhood zoned R-1. Then he got a letter from the city.

oregon.gov

Oregon's Bureau of Labor and Industries will be touring the state during the next few months updating landlords on new Section 8 housing rules.

A law recently passed in Oregon makes it illegal to deny housing for someone who qualifies for low income housing known as Section 8. The first of 15 seminars is September 29th in Portland. State Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian says the goal is to inform landlords about the changes so they don't accidently run afoul.

Oregon's Working Poor: Benefits Cliff

Sep 24, 2014
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.

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.

Oregon's Working Poor: Wages

Sep 23, 2014
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.

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.

Shorthanded Farmers In Oregon Say Drivers Cards Would Help Labor Force

Aug 30, 2014
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 Hosting International Buyers

Aug 9, 2014
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:

www.bend.or/us

In response to steady growth since the 90's, the City of Bend undertook a project to create 20-year supplies of land for residential and economic development. The Urban Growth Boundary Remand includes a future plan for the city's critical infrastructure. Upgrading the sewer system and working with the expansion of Oregon State University's Cascades campus are part of UGB's implementation. Brian Rankin is the Principle Planner for Bend. He says the last UGB effort included some public input.

Eugene will soon be home to a Whole Foods Market. The Austin-based company made the announcement Wednesday during its quarterly earnings call.

The 33,000 square foot store will be located on the corner of East Broadway and High Street in downtown Eugene. That's the same spot Whole Foods wanted to build a store several years ago but the deal didn't work out.

The store is set to open in the first half of 2016. The company says this will bring an estimated 150 new jobs to the area. It will be the 9th Whole Foods in Oregon.

oreblueberry.com

It is peak blueberry season in the Willamette Valley. Oregon is on track to break its harvest record for at least the 10th straight year.

Oregon and Michigan are the two top producers of blueberries. Bryan Ostlund is with the Oregon Blueberry Commission. He says since the discovery of the fruit's health benefits about a decade ago, demand has continued to increase, especially internationally:

Number Of Lane County Unemployed Ticks Up

Jul 21, 2014
Angela Kellner

The number of unemployed people in Lane County increased by more than 650 between May and June.  The unemployment rate remained the same at 6.8%.

But that could change in July, after this month's mill fire in Springfield.

Oregon Regional Economist Brian Rooney says Lane County has been in a period of positive employment growth.  But he calls the unemployment numbers for June…

Rooney: "A little bit of a step back."

Falling Sky Brewing

A number of cities around the world have bike-share programs that require membership fees. A brewery in Eugene is doing its own version of bike-share for free.

Falling Sky Brewing bought 7 cruisers from the University of Oregon, painted them blue and had Arriving By Bike do tune-ups. Falling Sky plans to have bikes available to borrow at both its Deli and Pub. Co-owner Rob Cohen says customers and employees can take a bike for free for up to 24 hours.

Karen Richards

In Eugene, eight selected startup companies began a journey toward potential long-term success this week. Thanks to a new public and private collaboration, they'll use the next 12 weeks to create a plan and then implement it.

Oregon's unemployment rate remained flat in June, at 6.8 percent.

The state Employment Department says the construction sector was hiring at record levels earlier this year but didn't hire as many workers last month.

Employment economist Nick Beleiciks says other industries saw gains, including private educational services and health care and social assistance.

bluebook.state.or.us

Vacation property owners and residents in Yachats are looking to find common ground for how to deal with the growing use of vacation rental units. Tuesday, the city council discussed two proposals that stemmed from public forums in May. 

The first proposal limits the number of days in a year property owners could rent to clients; the second would require a $500 rental license fee. Candy Neville is a realtor and property owner in Yachats. She says it's wrong to assume home owners are just renting units to make profits.

Tiffany Eckert

The newest Bottledrop Redemption Center opens in Eugene today (Tuesday,) touting a cleaner, quicker way for consumers to return bottles and cans. Participating grocery stores within two miles of the new center will no longer be required to accept deposit containers. There are mixed feelings about the change.

Oregon's Economy Experiencing Average Growth.

Jun 30, 2014
oregonquarterly.com

The state's economy continues to experience average to above average growth. Desmond O'Boyle reports on the latest economic indicators to come out of the University of Oregon.

City of Eugene

Visitors to Eugene's Parks will see taller, browner grass and have fewer places to go to the bathroom. That's because the city's new budget includes a $300,000 reduction in funding for the Parks and Open Space Division.

The new budget takes effect July 1st. Craig Carnegie is Eugene Parks and Open Space Director:

A new study shows Oregon farmers are more likely to sell product directly to consumers compared to other states. The Census of Agriculture says Oregon ranks 6th in the nation with more than 6,000 farms reporting direct-to-consumer sales. State Board of Agriculture member Barbara Boyer isn't surprised by the findings.

showmetherent.com

An innovative program at Westmoreland Village in Eugene may have positive impacts for families and property managers. Today (Friday) marks the launch of "Uncle Bear."

The program is the brainchild of Amy Price, the resident manager of Westmoreland Village. She was looking for a way to improve community at the 450-unit complex near 16th and Arthur.

What RAIN Can Bring To The Southern Willamette Valley

Jun 2, 2014

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.

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