Economy & Business

Economy, Business, Finance & Labor

Three Rivers Casino Opening In Coos Bay

May 6, 2015
http://threeriverscasino.com/sites/default/files/Picture2.jpg?1423607232

A new casino is opening in Coos Bay Thursday, bringing jobs and competition to the area. It will be called the Three Rivers Casino in Coos Bay.

Three Rivers projects the new casino will add more than 90 full time jobs with benefits in Coos Bay. The original casino is in Florence. The new expansion is part of the evolution into a full resort property according to Assistant general manager, Bob Garcia.

Oregon Live

Long-time Register Guard editor and publisher, Tony Baker, is stepping down. The Eugene daily paper has hired the head of The Oregonian Media Group to take his place.

Baker has been at the helm of the Register-Guard for 28 years. N. Christian Anderson III led the Oregonian through a transition to a digital-first organization.  

Former Dean of the U of O School of Journalism and Communication Tim Gleason says he expects change at the Guard.

Karen Richards

U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio led a rally today (Monday) in Eugene. He was raising awareness of President Obama’s push for “fast track” authority to implement a controversial trade agreement.

City of Eugene

A controversial tax exemption program for housing in downtown Eugene has been suspended since 2013. Yesterday (Wednesday), the City Council voted to let the public comment on its amended version of the multi-unit property tax exemption, or MUPTE, program.

Oregon Employers Report More Job Vacancies, Higher Wages

Apr 28, 2015
Oregon Employment Department

Oregon employers are offering higher wages and there are more job vacancies than in 2014. That's according to the Employment Department's recently released Job Vacancy Survey. The average hourly wage was $16.05 in 2014, this year it's $17.53. Employment Economist Jessica Nelson says higher average wages and more job vacancies are a reflection of Oregon's improving economy.

www.purdue.edu

Oregon's unemployment rate fell to 5.4 percent last month. That's the first time the state's jobless numbers have inched below the national rate since 1996.

State economist Nick Beleiciks says this shows just how well Oregon's economy has improved over the last year.

Angela Kellner

The Lane County Board of Commissioners agreed Tuesday to extend by 2 years a property tax break for Swanson Group. The company plans to rebuild its plywood mill in Springfield this summer.

Liam Moriarty / JPR

The Coquille Indian tribe’s proposal to build a new casino in south Medford has garnered a lot of opponents. But perhaps none as vociferous as the Cow Creek Band of the Umpqua Tribe of Indians. The Cow Creek have spent a lot of energy -- and money -- rallying opposition to the Coquille proposal.

Unemployment rates continue to drop in Lane and Douglas counties. KLCC’s Tiffany Eckert speaks with a regional economist about the growth trend and what it means for communities.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Lane County is the lowest since June of 2008. Douglas County is trending about the same, seeing its second consecutive month with job growth.

Brian Rooney watches tracks employment in both regions. He says growth brings a mixed bag of benefits.

Bureau of Indian Affairs

The Coquille Indian tribe’s controversial proposal to build a casino in Medford is facing its first major legal hurdle; getting the federal government to grant the site trust status, making it Indian land. In this second part of our series “Going For Broke,” JPR finds that whether the project gets the go-ahead may depend on how officials at the Bureau of Indian Affairs interpret the fine print of laws and agreements that go back decades.

Liam Moriarty / JPR

The proposal by the Coquille Indian tribe to build a new casino in Medford has taken heat from all sides, ever since it surfaced in 20-12. Federal, state and local elected officials have lined up against it. The Cow Creek Indian tribe is adamantly opposed. And comments from the public at large have been overwhelmingly negative.

Amanda Butt

Living on the street is difficult for anyone to do, but surviving without walls presents even greater dangers to women.

On a Saturday morning, a church in Corvallis fills slowly with people looking to fill their stomachs with warm breakfast food. Within the crowd is Marge Pettitt, a homeless activist in the community. She is friendly and repeatedly stops eating to give hugs to people she knows. But when she’s on the street, she’s cautious whenever she comes across strangers.

firstsource.com

A call center planning to open next month in Eugene is hiring up to 250 people. Chris Autry, Site Director for Firstsource Solutions says the company is a businesses process outsourcer.

They're looking to hire people to provide live web-chat services to telecommunications customers. Autry says they want employees with good people skills.

Meyer Memorial Trust

One of the largest private foundations in Oregon awarded over $9.5 million dollars in February alone. Starting today, the Meyer Memorial Trust is suspending its programs to refocus its giving.

The Meyer Memorial Trust was created in 1982 by the estate of grocery magnate Fred Meyer, but is not connected to the grocery store. Kimberly Wilson is with the Trust. She says the seven-nine month hiatus will help the organization be more directed:

www.purdue.edu

Jobs are on the rise in Oregon. Unemployment is on the decline. That’s the takeaway from State Employment Department’s just-issued January report. 

Oregon employment reached a record level in January, with more than 55 thousand jobs above a year ago. State Employment Economist Nick Beleiciks:

(Beleiciks)  “The sectors that added the most jobs were the broad ranging professional and business services, manufacturing, retail trade and construction.”

Legislation that would ensure all working Oregonians access to paid sick leave received endorsement Monday from the State's labor commissioner.  The State Senate and House are both considering bills that would allow workers to accrue one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked.  This would max out at about seven days a year. Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian:

Emerald People's Utility District

The Emerald People's Utility District is raising its rates effective April first. Like many utilities in the northwest, it's paying more for electricity and receiving less income from selling surplus power.

The state, universities and local governments have invested in startup companies through the Oregon RAIN program. A cohort of five new businesses in Corvallis has just graduated.

The OSU Advantage Accelerator has been around since the summer of 2013. Mark Lieberman is co-director. He says over time, they’ve made the program more formal and rigorous:

Lieberman: “Entrepreneurship is generally a marathon and not a sprint, but the acceleration program is to get them to the starting line and that is truly a sprint.”

Caregivers at a non-profit that runs group homes around the state began mediation today (Monday). The Lane County union is concerned about job cuts, while administrators say their numbers are sufficient. The employees held a rally this (Monday) morning in Eugene.

Albertina Kerr is based in Portland. It serves youth and adults with developmental disabilities and mental health issues. The Eugene office employs about 65 care givers. With the Raging Grannies singing in the background, union president Linda Peterson says staffing issues are more important than salary:

oregon.gov

Millions of Americans will be participating in Super Bowl parties today. During the match between the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots, many viewers will be drinking their favorite craft beer, and there's a good chance it's from Oregon. The State has become known for its micro-brew around the world including markets such as Europe, Asia, and Australia. Oregon Department of Agriculture Trade Manager Amanda Welker says big name beers are on the decline.

Unemployment Rates Drop In Oregon Counties

Jan 26, 2015

Unemployment rates fell in the month of December for several Oregon counties. Recent numbers show Lane County's rate at six point seven percent, Deschutes at seven point six percent and Douglas at nine point three percent.

Deschutes and Douglas rates remain well above the statewide average. Regional Labor Economist Brian Rooney explains why:

oregon.gov

The Oregon Department of Agriculture is recommending changes to water supply levels, access to markets, and more pressure on Congress to pass immigration reform. It's all in the ODA's recently completed biennial report for the governor. Steve Van Mouwerik is the Board of Agriculture Chair.

Karen Richards

Governor John Kitzhaber visited Springfield today to tour the fire-devastated Swanson Mill and announced state help to rebuild it.

The plywood and veneer mill was destroyed last July in a massive fire, the cause of which is still unknown. The 33-acre site is now largely reduced to level concrete. Mayor Christine Lundberg says the blaze devastated the community:

Lundberg: “We lost not only an employer but we lost employees to the community so we’re enormously excited that Swanson has been able to see that this is the best site for them to rebuild.”

Shanice Stringer

In the 25 years that Springfield Habitat for Humanity has helped build affordable homes for low-income families, only three have paid off their mortgages. The Ramirez family is one of them, and they did it early. KLCC’s Tiffany Eckert joined them to celebrate the achievement.

In a ceremonial act, Alfonso and Edith Ramirez lit a copy of their 20 year mortgage on fire (click) and let it burn.

(sound of burning paper)

Every month, they’ve sent in the payments on their zero-interest Habitat for Humanity loan. Now, three years early, they are owners free and clear.

Angela Kellner

Six months ago, a devastating fire completely destroyed a plywood mill in Springfield. Today (Thursday), Swanson Group announced their plans to rebuild.

Once the smoke cleared, investigators ruled a lot of things out but could find no definitive cause for the fire. In October, the insurance company wrote out a settlement check. Swanson Group President and CEO Steve Swanson says that’s when they began the process of deciding the best way to use the insurance money.   

Lane County Saw High Rate of Foreclosures In December

Jan 15, 2015
www.oregonlive.com

Foreclosures rose in several Oregon counties during the month of December. Eugene based real estate buyer Gorilla Capital reported there were 753 foreclosures in 2014.

Lane County saw 94 foreclosures in December 2014. Ally  Leavitt with Gorilla Capital says the fourth quarter is traditionally slow for foreclosures, but the change in Oregon’s process could be a factor.

Amanda Peacher / OPB

This week we’re talking to Oregonians across the state who struggle with hunger. Yesterday we checked in with Tyra Lynn. We interviewed her more than a decade ago about her experience with food stamps, now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP. Today, we spend time with Lynn and her sister Constance Lee, who has a different take on accepting SNAP.

Tyra Lynn is rolling pie dough in her sister’s home in Mountain Home, Idaho.

Lynn: We’re going to need more flour. I’ve got barely enough flour and I’ve only made one pie crust.

Tara Lynn

In 2000 Oregon had the highest rate of hunger in the nation. Around that time, OPB’s Rob Manning spoke with Portlander Tyra Lynn, who struggled to feed her family and relied on food stamps. This fall, OPB found Lynn. We wanted to know whether her situation changed more than a decade later.

Life was hard for Tyra Lynn twelve years ago. Her husband had just lost his job, and the then 27-year-old mother of three had a hard time making ends meet.   

Hunger's Challenges Multiply In Remote Parts Of Oregon

Jan 13, 2015
Amanda Peacher / OPB

People who live in cities usually have a grocery store or a food pantry option within a few miles. But in rural communities, access to groceries with affordable fresh food is harder to come by.

Amanda Peacher / OPB

Nearly 15 years ago, Oregon had the highest rate of hunger in the nation. The state changed a number of policies to try to help. But the percentage of people facing hunger today is nearly as high as it was in 2000. In this series, we talk to Oregonians who struggle to put food on the table, and look at programs that provide support. Amanda Peacher reports on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

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