Economy

Economy, Business, Finance & Labor

Cassandra Profita

At Hampton Lumber's Tillamook sawmill on the North Coast of Oregon, workers are packaging a bundle of freshly milled lumber with plastic and staple guns. The boards look a lot like the rest of the lumber the the mill makes. But they represent a bright spot on an otherwise dismal landscape.

They've been measured and cut specifically for a customer in China. And mill manager Mark Elston says they could be the key not only to keeping the mill open but may even get the mill back up to full capacity for the first time since the U.S. housing market collapsed in 2008.

Jes Burns

Sports tourism is a big economic generator in Lane County - with fans staying at hotels, eating at restaurants and shopping at local retailers.  A new report estimates sporting events generated $32 million in 2013 - and that's not counting the economic impact of sports at the University of Oregon.

Employers Struggle To Fill Vacant Positions

Mar 7, 2014
Oregon Employment Department

Employers in Northwest Oregon and the Willamette Valley had a difficult time filling vacant positions in 2013. At any given time there were 8,000 vacancies, according to an Oregon Employment Department survey.

More than two-thirds of these vacancies did not require more than a high school education and offered an hourly wage of more than ten dollars. Many of these vacancies were for farm workers, meat and fish cutters, and home health care aides.

Regional Labor Economist Brian Rooney:

Amelia Templeton / Earthfix

Governor John Kitzhaber Friday announced a $5 million funding package that will allow Josephine County's last sawmill to re-open.
 
The Rough & Ready Sawmill in O'Brien closed a year ago. It will now be able to open with upgraded equipment thanks to a combination of tax credits and a state loan. At a press conference in White City, Owner Link Phillipi said he expects the mill will be able to hire more than 60 people.

The Oregon Health Authority is accepting license applications for the first state-sanctioned medical marijuana dispensaries. The law’s supporters hope to assure patients safe access to their medicine. But as a rapidly-expanding list of states allows medical marijuana – and with Washington and Colorado legalizing recreational use of pot – a growing cohort of entrepreneurs hears opportunity knocking.

DredgingToday.com

Oregon's coastal ports are used for commercial and recreational purposes and are an integral part of the state's economy. Years of federal budget cuts have left the ports in need of maintenance and dredging.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is allocating $20-million in new funding for Oregon ports. Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio had lobbied for additional money for ports in his Southwest Oregon district, which he said are in dire need of dredging.

logging
Tiffany Eckert

Conservationists from across the nation are in Eugene this weekend for the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference. Public lands advocates took this opportunity to protest a logging bill sponsored by Oregon Senator Ron Wyden. Today (Friday) more than 50 people marched from the Knight Law Center to the Federal Courthouse.

The protesters are opposed to plans to increase logging on public forestlands in western Oregon. Self proclaimed "tree sitters" are part of the rally. So are fishery managers and scientists.

NEDCO.org

A U.S. Treasury grant will give access to capital to economically distressed Oregonians.

Springfield’s Community LendingWorks was awarded $420,000 to help expand small businesses, or personal livelihood. The non-profit is an affiliate of the Neighborhood Economic Development Corporation, or NEDCO. Executive Director Claire Seguin says the people they work with don’t have a relationship with a mainstream bank that allows them to borrow.  

Karen Richards

The buzz of chainsaws and smell of freshly cut wood in Eugene isn’t only because of recent storms. Thousands of loggers have come to the Lane Events Center for the 76th annual Oregon Logging Conference.

The event is the largest equipment show west of the Mississippi. Organizers are excited to have about 900 registered participants from all over the U.S. as well as several foreign countries. The group’s president, Milt Moran, says an improved economy and a good program helped boost attendance:

Rachael McDonald

It will take time to determine the long-term economic impacts of the extreme weather that hit the region this past week. But there are some immediate effects we can observe.

Monday was the first day many area residents were able to emerge from their homes after two snowstorms and freezing rain caused downed trees, power outages and treacherous road conditions. Dave Hauser, President of the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce, says a lot of people waited out the storm and businesses and events lost revenue.

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