Economy, Business, Finance & Labor

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.

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.


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.

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:


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.