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|Thursday, October 22, 2009|
Managing editor Ben Jacklet spent two weeks immersed in rural Oregon’s timber towns to investigate how these communities, once buoyed by abundant wood product operations, would reinvent themselves to survive. The story states the salient issue: “These towns are left with an unenviable choice: diversify or die. Only how?”
In this special report that begins on page 26, Trouble in Timber Town, Jacklet finds the answers as varied as the towns themselves. But from Prineville to Oakridge, to Roseburg and on out to Burns-Hines, the thing that holds true for all of them is that the future is surely in the hands of the local private and public sector entrepreneurs — those folks who won’t and don’t give up.
That same unsinkable attitude was evident when three members of the Portland chapter of the Entrepreneur’s Organization (EO) came visiting a few weeks ago. The EO has 69 members whose companies have an average of 28 employees and about $6 million in revenue. Classic small to medium businesses that are the backbone of Oregon’s economy.
JD Elder, the president of the local chapter, knows something about hard times. He owns Elder Demolition, which has been walloped by the housing industry collapse; his revenues have shrunk from $7 million to $3 million. The biggest issue facing him and most of his colleagues is that banks “are cutting us off at the knees.” Bank lines are being reduced and certain sectors, like construction, “have just been cut loose.”
Elder’s assessment is true nationally. A recent story from Reuters reported, “Small companies create more than half of America’s jobs, but the entrepreneurs who drive this part of the economy continue to complain that access to credit two years into the recession is scarce.” And according to a survey by the Federal Reserve Board, most banks will keep their lending standards tight until at least the middle of 2010.
But despite that challenge and more, you can’t keep a good entrepreneur down. Bryan Howe, CEO and founder of MasterPlans.com, a company that writes business plans for entrepreneurs seeking funding, says business has dropped by 30% since last year. But even though business is off, Howe sees more optimism in clients this year.
“I don’t hear about anyone throwing in the towel and going back to work for someone else,” says Jill Nelson, CEO of Ruby Receptionists, which provides virtual receptionists to companies. “Once an entrepreneur, always an entrepreneur.”
It will be entrepreneurs like these — from the big city or the small town — and the employment they provide that is the key to reclaiming a healthy economy.
Jobless recovery? Let’s not kid ourselves, or at least, let’s not buy into the label that local and national economists are using. It isn’t a recovery until the jobs come back.
Friday, October 17, 2014
BY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER
How can you move from a command-and-control leadership model to one of true empowerment and accountability? David Marquet did, and he took notes along the way.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JOE ROJAS-BURKE
Bans on genetically modified crops create uncertainty for farmers.
Monday, October 06, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
Intel's manufacturing way station; Merkley's attack dog; Diamond Foods gets into the innovation business.
Friday, October 24, 2014
A majority of respondents agreed: Local vineyards should remain Oregon-owned and quality is the most important factor when determining where to eat or buy groceries.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
BY DIANE BUISMAN
Some common misconceptions employers have about marijuana.
Thursday, October 02, 2014
Oregon Business magazine has named the sixth annual 100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY
Bob Dethlefs, CEO of Evanta, balances work and play.
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Is your business ready to join us in the call for action? This opening panel includes Oregon businesses who will discuss why they signed the Oregon Climate Declaration, the investments they are making to reduce carbon emissions, and how their actions are affecting their companies.
Get ready for two days of special events produced with the EPA, Portland Timbers and ISOS before and after the GoGreen Conference on October 16.
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Rotary’s Oregon Ethics in Business aims to raise consciousness about business ethics by honoring exceptional companies.
Barran Liebman’s annual employment law seminar is an industry classic.
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More than 400 "Change Makers" will gather to invest in a socially sustainable community.