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|Articles - June 2013|
|Tuesday, May 28, 2013|
Page 1 of 6
BY PETER BARNES
Since passing groundbreaking laws on urban growth and conservation in the 1970s, Oregon has earned a national reputation for its dense web of environmental-protection initiatives. Some 40 years later, the race is on to transform that eco-friendly image into a driving force in the 21st-century low-carbon economy.
The results, measured by job growth, investment, innovation and environmental impact, vary by sector. In transportation, Oregon has become a leader in electric-vehicle infrastructure and cycling. In construction and scientific research, it remains a fount of green-materials development and innovative design, although other states are fast catching up in terms of efficient building. Oregon utilities are meeting benchmarks for renewable power but face more challenging targets in the next decade. Meanwhile, the state’s green-tech manufacturing stands at an inflection point, successful in attracting companies to the state yet vulnerable to the rapid consolidation in solar and wind.
In Oregon the number of private-sector green jobs — defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as work that provides goods or services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources — increased 22% from 2010 to 2011, accounting for nearly 50,000 positions across 10 sectors. That represents 3.7% of the state’s workforce: an indisputably small element that nonetheless helped catapult Oregon to the top of the “Clean Jobs Index” this year, a state ranking compiled by the Denver-based Ecotech Institute measuring retention and creation of green jobs.
Known for confronting environmental challenges early and aggressive pursuit of green businesses, Oregon likes to dash in front of the pack. Sometimes it trips over itself in the process — perhaps best evidenced by the spate of heavily subsidized solar companies that have cut jobs since the beginning of the year. Indeed, after spending $343 million in the past four fiscal years to finance energy conservation, renewable power and green development via the Business Energy Tax Credit (BETC), the state dissolved the program last year amid accusations that participants were splitting up projects to maximize their take.
Aiming to scale its green growth, limit environmental impacts and maintain a competitive edge in an era marked increasingly by austerity, Oregon and its standing in the green economy are best judged in the sectors where the state has invested the most: construction, transportation, manufacturing, utilities and research. Here is a snapshot of the accomplishments, the setbacks and the challenges ahead.
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Produced by the Oregon Business marketing department
When the Portland-based manufacturing company Glass Alchemy, Ltd. was first nominated for an Oregon State University Austin Family Business Excellence in Family Business award in 2004, husband-and-wife team Henry Grimmett and Susan Webb-Grimmett, were honored and optimistic about their chances of winning.
Some employers have embraced the use of employment arbitration agreements as a way to manage and mitigate the rising costs, risks and liabilities associated with employment-related claims. Historically, employment arbitration agreements require employees to present employment-related claims, such as employment discrimination, wrongful discharge, harassment, or claims for wages or compensation to an arbitrator, in lieu of proceeding to court.
Produced by the Oregon Business marketing department
Boly:Welch was founded in 1986 based on a close connection between Diane Boly and Pat Welch. The two had worked together at another recruitment firm and shared certain core values: passion for their work, a sense of humor, a commitment to their community and a desire to create a healthy, nurturing work environment.
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The Naa Amerley Palm Education ("NAPE") Foundation recently awarded two more Lane Powell/Lee Nusich Scholarships to deserving students attending institutions of higher learning in Ghana. Including the most recent recipients, a total of 48 scholarships have been awarded to Ghanaian university students since the scholarship foundation started in January 2009.
Unitus Community Credit Union, a Portland-based credit union with more than 80,000 members, has announced the addition of Brian Alfano as Vice President of Member Services. Alfano will provide strategic leadership over Unitus’ member experience to ensure consistency across delivery channels, including branch operations, member support, and products and services.