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Thursday, February 01, 2007

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No, the French-fry smell isn’t coming from the cafeteria. Anderson Construction is using biodiesel in its forklifts and generators while they work on a $42 million expansion at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center. Besides sparing people at the hospital from noxious diesel fumes, Chuck Blomquist, a project manager at the St. Vincent site, says environmental savings and a desire to be a green company mean Anderson will continue to use biodiesel. “The smell is much more palatable,” he explains and the equipment operates the same with the alternative fuel.


Trade volume in the Portland/Vancouver region will double in the next 25 years, and there is a critical and immediate need for increased focus on planning and infrastructure investment to prepare for that growth, according to a study funded by the Port of Portland and other regional agencies. The Portland/Vancouver region’s trade facilities (marine terminals and air cargo facilities) are already operating near or at capacity and, at the same time, the ability of the highway and rail system to handle the additional freight volume and the supply of industrial land to accommodate support services is strained, the reports says. The Metro Council is undertaking an effort called the “New Look,” which will try to figure out how to manage about a million more people living in the Portland metro region in the next 25 years. Sandra McDonough, president of the Portland Business Alliance, says the study reinforces the key conclusions of a congestion study commissioned by the port, Metro and other agencies in 2005that found that increasing congestion, even with currently planned improvements, will significantly hurt the region’s ability to maintain and grow business. That earlier study found that the failure to invest adequately in transportation improvements will result in a potential loss valued at of $844 million annually by 2025.


The new private sector-backed economic development group for the greater Portland area announced its formation and board of directors last month. The Four County Economic Development Corp. (working name) will be led by Scott Campbell, publisher of The Columbian in Vancouver; Mark Ganz, CEO of The Regence Group; Eric Parsons, president and CEO of The Standard; and Malia Watson, president of US Bank.  


Mike and Brian McMenamin, the duo behind the popular brewpubs, opened the doors to their latest watering hole in December. But Chapel Pub isn’t just another quirky bar: It’s also part of company headquarters. McMenamins purchased the former Little Chapel of the Chimes in the north Portland neighborhood of Piedmont after outgrowing the former headquarters at the Mission Theatre site. Company CFO Larry Dortmund said the Chapel, a funeral home built in 1932, is fantastic and that the 40 corporate employees are happy to have space to spread their wings. McMenamins, which employs about 1,750 people throughout its Northwest locations, is the fourth-largest brewpub chain in the United States in terms of beer production, according to the Oregon Brewers Guild.


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