In 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.
It’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.”
While 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?
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.
Some products have fared better than others over Oregon’s 150 years of statehood. When was the last time you sat down to a nice, steaming cup of Dr. Henley’s Oregon Kidney Tea? Or reached for your trusty box of Red Dragon Squirrel and Gopher Poison?
The Ash Grove cement plant in Baker County is the biggest source of airborne mercury in the country, churning out 900,000 tons of cement and emitting about 2,500 pounds of mercury every year. But when the federal Environmental Protection Agency proposed new rules last month that would cut the plant’s mercury emissions by 99%, Ash Grove had a surprising defender: Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality.