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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

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Innovation takes the spotlight this issue, starting with our cover story on the extraordinary discoveries of eight local companies. We are rich, as senior writer Abraham Hyatt finds, with ideas and inventions, some of which have the power to save fish, decode the universe and repair ailing bodies.

While we aren’t developing life-saving technologies here at the magazine (oh, but to find the cure for writer’s block), we have our own cup of innovation brewing. In this issue we introduce two new regular features aimed at giving the readers of Oregon Business a bigger dose of statewide intelligence. The first, on p. 8, is Economix, a monthly column that will explore Oregon’s economy. Three of the state’s leading economic analysts will wade through the confusing fiscal flotsam and jetsam to explain what makes our economy tick, and why you should care.

Our rotating lineup starts with John Mitchell, a well-known figure on the regional economic scene. He’s been an economist with U.S. Bank for almost 25 years, the past 10 years as its Western region economist (and, if you’ve heard his annual ode to the economy, not a bad poet). For our inaugural column, Mitchell tackles what makes Oregon’s tax system unique (decorum prohibits the other adjectives), and the wide-ranging implications of that.

Batting in June will be Tom Potiowsky, a fixture for six years as the state’s economist and the head of the Office of Economic Analysis (and the guy who forecast the state’s tax revenues). Potiowsky returned to teaching last year at Portland State University, where he is an economics professor. Rounding out the lineup in July is Eric Fruits, a senior economist at the Portland consulting firm ECONorthwest and an adjunct professor at PSU. 

All three are ready to take on the assignment of dissecting our financial fun house. Says Mitchell in a sentiment echoed by his colleagues: “I want to have people think about something they didn’t before.” With these three experts writing exclusive analysis for Oregon Business each month, readers can count on it.

Deal Watch is our second new feature. Each month it will track the latest in notable mergers, acquisitions, IPOs (if they ever return to Oregon), capital raising and real estate transactions. Deal Watch, on p. 9, is researched by Mark Druskoff, a veteran business writer and editor with a decade of business publishing experience, including as editor of Minnesota Business magazine.

The deal landscape is ever-changing and fascinating, and Druskoff’s research captures it in an easy-to-digest chart. We’ll also go a little deeper into one deal. This month, managing editor Christina Williams looks at the Blackstone Group’s rapid buying and selling of 40 Portland-area hot properties.

“Oregon is pretty active for the size of the state,” observes Druskoff. “Pound for pound, it has a pretty strong and diverse mergers and acquisitions deal flow. It shows a vibrant entrepreneurial scene.”

Celebrating innovation is also part of the fun when we hit the road later this year in our barnstorming Business is Good! tour. It starts Sept. 10 in Astoria, rolls through 18 Oregon communities and winds up in Portland on Oct. 5. Check out our website at www.oregonbusiness.com/tour. Entrepreneurial juice is found across the state and in all industries, and with the tour and other special coverage, we will continue our focus on innovation throughout the year. We’re scouring the state for people engaged in all types of ground-breaking work, from education to technology to the environment to government. If you know of someone leading the way, drop me a line at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

If you’ve got the cure for writer’s block, call me direct.  

— Robin Doussard
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