Home Back Issues February 2014 From the editor: Digging out

From the editor: Digging out

| Print |  Email
Articles - February 2014
Tuesday, January 21, 2014

0214 EDITOR

A number of years ago, The Oregonian published a captivating photo of a group of businessmen eating lunch while peering, mesmerized, into the massive crater that was the beginnings of the Park Avenue West Tower downtown. It was an image straight out of Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, the classic children’s story about a man and the steam shovel — Mary Anne — he refused to abandon, even though competition from gas and diesel shovels was ruining him. 

Determined to show off Mary Anne’s prowess, Mike digs the foundation for the town hall of Popperville while its residents gather en masse around the deepening hole to cheer him on.

The design and building of a city is one of humankind’s greatest achievements. When building stalls, the whole city suffers — from job losses and sluggish economic growth, along with lack of dynamism and morale.

Five years after the crash knocked most residential and commercial projects off their foundations, building is back. That building is the theme of our February real estate issue: the Portland neighborhoods that are being transformed by the apartment boom; the reset of the Park Avenue West Tower, located around the corner from the Oregon Business office; and myriad projects in Bend and Ashland. 

So much building is taking place, and so fast, that many Oregonians are already sounding a cautionary note about another housing bubble, along with social and traffic impacts of too much growth. 

Not to belabor the comparison — I’m not a firm believer in the All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten school of business — but those concerns are also resonant of Mike Mulligan, a story about the old being replaced by the new and the nostalgia we often feel for old ways of doing things. 

Hint: Mike deals with the problem by converting Mary Anne into a furnace, something like our current practice of using waste heat to power buildings.

When times are bad, people worry about not enough growth; when times are good, we worry about the adverse effects of growth. Such is the fickle nature of, well, human nature — and the business cycles that swing from one end of the spectrum to the other. 

Today the real estate cycle is on the move. For those who want cheap entertainment, there is no shortage of holes in the ground (with modern-day steam shovels) to peer into. So bring your lunch and watch the city grow.

— Linda Baker 

 

More Articles

Interview: Dr. Mark Goulston

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, July 10, 2014
JustListenBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

Tom Cox interviews Dr. Mark Goulston, author of Just Listen, Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone.


Read more...

Blips and trends in the housing market

News
Thursday, June 26, 2014
062614 thumb realestateBY ERIC FRUTS | OB BLOGGER

Last year, the housing market in Oregon—and the U.S. as a whole—was blasting off. The Case-Shiller index of home prices ended the year 13% higher than at the beginning of the year. But, was last year a blip, or a trend?


Read more...

Reader Input: Energy policy

June 2014
Thursday, May 29, 2014

How serious a problem is climate change? Readers want to have their cake and eat it, too.


Read more...

Trends in business succession

News
Thursday, July 03, 2014
TrendsBY TED AUSTIN & MIKE BAELE | GUEST CONTRIBUTORS

The Office of Economic Analysis announced that Oregon is currently enjoying the strongest job growth since 2006. While this resurgence has been welcome, the lingering effects of the 2008 “Great Recession” continues to affect Oregon businesses, especially with regard to estate planning and business succession.


Read more...

Detox fashion

June 2014
Thursday, May 29, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

Remember mood rings? A team of scientists at Oregon State University has designed what might be considered a 21st-century analog of the ’70s jewelry fad: a bracelet that reveals one’s exposure to pollutants.


Read more...

Portland: Where young people go to work?

News
Friday, June 06, 2014
UntitledBY KATIE AUSBURGER | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

How to build a hipster-friendly work environment.


Read more...

Creating a culture of compliance

Business tips
Thursday, June 19, 2014
DataBY MONICA ENAND | GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

Nine tips for building habits among employees to respond when needed.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS