December 2011

Oregon EVs on a slow charge

1211_ElectricVehicles_01Two years ago, electric vehicles were going to save the world and Oregon in particular. There would be several models on the market to choose from, they all would be fast and go far, and there would be as many charging stations dotting I-5 as Ducks fans on game day. Manufacturers and politicians alike were expecting everyone to dive into the deep end of the EV pool. But consumers have been slow to embrace the new technology.

State we're in: Housing permits flat

1211_IndicatorsGraph_03Amid a still sluggish real estate market, Oregon housing permits remain mired thousands per month below the heights of five years ago.

Company composts pet waste

1211_PoopComposting_02When Steve Dreiling took over son Lance Donavan’s Green Pet Compost Company in early 2011 it had 100 clients. It now has 200 residential clients in the Portland metro area (as well as Gig Harbor, Wash., where Dreiling lives) and 10-12 commercial clients, including the Stay Pet Hotel and Sniff Dog Hotel in Portland.

Arnold Schwarzenegger cast in bronze in Oregon

1211_BronzinatorTim Parks does not impress easily. The founder and owner of TW Bronze in Enterprise comes across as laid back and unpretentious. But even Parks felt a bit of a thrill when Arnold Schwarzenegger rode shotgun with him to take a tour of his bronze foundry in September.

Artisan soap's sudsy success

1211_Soap_02Oregonians are buying artisan, whether it is gloves they purchase from a crafter on the website Etsy, home-brewed beer they buy from a co-worker, or specialty cheese they pick up at a farmer’s market. Add to the list: handcrafted bar soap.

Holiday retail's uncertain outlook

1211_HolidayRetailThe annual holiday shopping marathon is upon us, and in the face of a still-fragile economy, retailers around the country and locally are collectively holding their breaths.