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|Articles - April 2014|
|Thursday, March 27, 2014|
Page 2 of 6
That creative-class focus has left the Port without as much local support as it weathers global shifts and grapples with local challenges. Port officials recognize tough issues. For years Port leaders have worried about a lack of available land for existing business expansion and any growth — growth they still hope to lure. And 900 acres that could be used for industrial development are contaminated, tied up in brownfields or within the Superfund site on the Willamette River, which means they’re years away from shovel-ready.
There are new worries. Grain exports were down 18% last year, owing to bans on Oregon wheat by Japan and South Korea following the discovery of GMO wheat in a fallow field. Air cargo carrier Asiana Airlines stopped calling on Portland after consolidating its air freight services in Tacoma and cutting the Port’s nonstop cargo tie to Asia. Auto imports fell 17%. And carriers that barge goods up and down the Columbia River system have faltered in the tough economy.
Topping its troubles lately is that the Port is precariously positioned in the marine container trade. It is the smallest container mover on the West Coast, vulnerable as container vessels get bigger while the Columbia River is still 43 feet deep. The Port outsourced management of that terminal to a Philippines-based company, ICTSI, two years ago, hoping to push an enterprise characterized by Wyatt as “barely break even” into the black.
Labor issues followed, however, while ICTSI pushed for increased automation. Failed negotiations with the unions and subsequent work slowdowns allowed for Hanjin — which carries about 75% of the marine containers that leave the Port — room for a power play. Hanjin’s threats to leave Portland since, likely also spurred by the overcapitalized world that is container carriers, pushed the Port to offer it incentive pay. In March the South Korean shipping line announced it would continue calling on Portland; should the company change its mind, the impacts to smaller, more marginal businesses that can’t afford to ship goods to Tacoma or Seattle could be severe.
Walt Evans, a former Port commissioner and a lawyer for clients engaged in international trade, says there is always that potential that the Port will lose its container business, especially in light of its upriver location. “They are working hard to make sure those conditions don’t present themselves, and that the carriers are treated well enough that they are not going to be lured away,” he says.
Though he recognizes these issues are unfolding against a backdrop of growing service exports, Evans doesn’t think baristas and filmmakers will ever overtake the regional economy. Indeed, data shows they’re nowhere close, only a growing force.
Voices tied to the community’s rising livability tide agree the Port will always be an important part of the community, but say it has entered an era where jobs numbers aren’t a trump card over other concerns.
Bob Sallinger, executive director of the Portland Audubon Society, has served on committees related to planning for Port futures and the Willamette River. Through the Audubon Society, he opposed Port development on West Hayden Island.
In part because of changing community dynamics, the port has entered an era where its political leadership must be less insular to succeed, Salinger says. Pointing to its rocky relationships with other ports, sectors and unions — and the recent failure to gain ground in West Hayden Island negotiations, even while the Port invested millions — Sallinger says it won’t be enough for the Port to offer guarantees of jobs and revenue.
Instead, Sallinger believes the Port will have to demonstrate real job creation, and address its impact on neighborhoods and the environment more directly. He believes the Port needs to step up to modern challenges — like a lack of land and the river system’s inability to accommodate ever-larger container vessels — through collaborative efforts with other ports. Otherwise, the Port risks losing focus on its long-term goals as a gateway and getting stuck in local bottlenecks instead. “Pretending it’s not happening is self-destructive in the long run,” he says.
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
BY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
New Jersey and Oregon are the only two states in the U.S. that ban self serve gas stations. But these two holdouts may be ready to give up the game. New Jersey is considering legislation that would lift the state's ban on pumping your own gas. Oregon is considering smaller scale changes.
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY EMILY LIEDEL
Inside the topsy-turvy world of corporate sustainability rankings.
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY HANNAH WALLACE
Travelers have always come to Oregon for its natural beauty. But will the increasing popularity of agritourism, European-style hiking getaways and forest resorts relax Oregon's notoriously strict land-use laws?
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY CHRIS NOBLE
The right sunglasses can protect your eyes and look cool at the same time. This being the 21st century, select shades are socially conscious, too. Portland brand Shwood uses wood and other natural materials and manufactures locally. Founded by Ann Sacks, the brand Fetch dedicates a portion of its profits to animal welfare. But whether you choose classic tortiseshell or aviator chic, please, shed the sunglasses when you walk in the door — and, of course, at night.
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR
The recent tragedy in Philadelphia has called attention to Amtrak and the nation's woefully underfunded rail service. Here are six facts about the Amtrak Cascades corridor between Eugene and Vancouver B.C.
Friday, May 08, 2015
BY CHRIS NOBLE | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN
Hagfish may not have evolved much over the last 300 million years, but their protein-heavy slime promises advances in super-materials.
Friday, April 17, 2015
PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN
The 32nd annual CBC attracted a record number of attendees (11,000) to the Oregon Convention Center.
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Tonkon Torp helps seed sustainability at Gunderson.
Oregon-based Environments helps companies create inspired workspaces. “Simply put, we help companies future-proof their workspaces,” says Chris Corrado, president. Since 1988,Environments has witnessed firsthand the changing landscape of business. Native Portlander and Environments founder Corrado says, “We help our clients navigate the complex realities of the workplace today and plan for their future in a very mindful, strategic way. We think of ourselves as their partners in the process.”
One hundred years ago, the Willamette River might easily have been mistaken for a sewer. Unchecked industrial activity and decades of pollution made it unrecognizable compared to the clean river that now flows north for 187 miles from Eugene through the center of Portland.
The Oregon Entrepreneurs Network (OEN) will be presenting its third annual Entrepreneurial Summit on Friday, June 5 at Castaway in Portland, Oregon.
On June 13th Mayor Charlie Hales will attend nonprofit organization Dream Change’s inaugural Love Summit and will introduce one of its keynote speakers, Dan Wieden of Wieden+Kennedy advertising agency.
34 spots for food, 17 places to sip, and 7 sites to choose a brew beckon visitors.