Economy

Economy, Business, Finance & Labor

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.

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."

How Inequality Affects You

May 12, 2014

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.

Tourism Continues To Rise In Lane County

May 9, 2014
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.

Foreclosure Filings Spike In March

Apr 12, 2014

Home foreclosure filings in Oregon spiked last month. Four hundred and seventy four court foreclosures were filed in March compared to 295 in February. According to John Helmick, CEO of Gorilla Capitol, the increase was anticipated.

Helmick: "These are homes that have gone through the required mandatory mediation process, and so now they are able to file the foreclosures because under the new statute you have to go thought this mediation process before you can file the foreclosure."

A Redmond-based concrete company has been barred from any public works contracts for the next three years. The company failed to pay a group of employees a prevailing wage. 

Tom Banse

There will be end-of-season parties at at least nine Northwest ski resorts this weekend (4/12-13). But some other Cascade ski areas will welcome skiers and snowboarders well past Easter. That's thanks to late-season snow that fell at many area resorts. Timing means everything for the bottom line of these resort companies. Correspondent Tom Banse explains how a strong finish doesn't necessarily make up for a late start like we saw this season.

A big turn-out is expected for the Oregon Medical Marijuana Business Conference in Eugene. Anthony Johnson is organizing the event this Sunday and Monday. He says the conference is a place for entrepreneurs to learn about business opportunities. He says those extend beyond growing and selling marijuana. Johnson hopes to help professionalize the business.

Angela Kellner

One of downtown Eugene’s unique retailers is going out of business after 23 years of selling mostly fair trade products. KLCC’s Angela Kellner stopped by Greater Goods to find out how the business got started…and why it’s shutting down.

Across from the trendy 5th Street Public Market is a thrift store and Greater Goods.

Step inside and you’re transported to myriad cultures and crafts. Owner Joanie Kleban explains how it all began.

Amanda Butt

Vendors at the Lane County Farmer’s Market say their crops are recovering after the snow and below zero temperatures that hit their fields this winter.

Booths are filled with kale, carrots, and potatoes at the Lane County Farmer’s Market. It’s hard to see that farmers suffered any losses after the winter’s harsh and unusual weather. But the farmers behind the tables and baskets of produce say the cold conditions came with a price.

Richardson: “We had some issues. The cold was harsh on us.”

Says Jack Richardson, the manager of Organic Redneck farm.

Eugene Cascades and Coast Blog

Eugene has made Livability-dot-com's top ten list of Best Downtowns for 2014.

The website points to the transformation of Eugene's center over the past several years from a place with empty pits and vacant buildings to one with housing, theaters, and lots of restaurants and offices. Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy credits the efforts of city staff, residents and a 200 million dollar investment. Piercy says being on a list with cities such as Alexandria, Virginia and Fort Worth, Texas is a nice recognition.

Child Care: The Affordability Trap

Mar 17, 2014

With stay-at-home parents increasingly rare, finding high quality, affordable child care has become a major challenge for many families. A recent report found Oregon has the least-affordable child care in the nation. From Jefferson Public Radio, Liam Moriarty takes a look at the hurdles parents face and how some are coping with the squeeze.

In the predawn dark on a weekday morning, Natasha Hale hustles to get her two rambunctious sons ready for their day. As she pours milk and cereal in the kitchen, Hale talks about her daily schedule, which starts at 5 a.m.

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