June 2009

The fine green line

GreenHawthorneAuto1Oregon companies rely on green seals and local support groups to show there's substance behind their sustainable business claims.

Heat wave

GreenJohnSorensonCommunity-owned heating plants are an old idea garnering new enthusiasm as climate change and alternative energy needs make their 19th century technology right for the future.

Hanging on to the gym

Local rock climbers in Bend are clinging to their gym membership as if they were hanging off a sheer mountainside. And with an imploded housing market and unemployment at 17%, the city is teetering on a cliff. Yet Bend-based Inclimb Rock Gym is planning to move into a larger building in July, an expansion plan that’s echoed at several Portland gyms.

Feeding Oregon

ATSRachelBristolIn 1983, Oregon Food Bank CEO Rachel Bristol began her career battling hunger as an AmeriCorps volunteer, helping develop the state’s burgeoning food bank system. Now 26 years later, Bristol leads Oregon’s $50 million food bank network, whose 106 employees, 25,000 volunteers and 915 member agencies help feed more than 210,000 people every month with emergency food boxes, serve millions of emergency meals and help an additional 87,000 people through programs at daycares and senior centers. But Bristol isn’t satisfied with the 58 million pounds of food that moved through the statewide system last year, not while the number of people seeking emergency food is at record levels.

A clever card snark

ATSSnarkyIt’s 9:30 p.m. on a Sunday evening and the Triple Nickel bar on Southeast Belmont in Portland is relatively quiet. A woman dressed in bright red walks up to a table of people and makes a pitch: “Hi, I’m Alisa Star and I make brutally honest greeting cards.”


When good Twitters go bad

ATSTwitterWhile Travel Portland has gotten national media attention for the digital concierge it’s calling a “Twisitor Center,” most Oregon companies have a don’t-know-don’t-care attitude when it comes to Twitter, the micro-blogging service where users update frequently with short answers to the question “What are you doing?

The phantom chemicals boom

Given China’s remarkable economic rise over the past decade, it comes as no surprise that it has grown into Oregon’s largest export market, with the state’s savviest players such as Nike and Intel well embedded there and prospering as a result. But it is surprising which sector has seen the sharpest growth: chemicals.