December 2009

Portrait of the unemployed

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Painting a detailed picture of exactly who is getting laid off in Oregon is hampered by incomplete statistics. What seems clear is that because of the collapse of the housing, lumber and construction industries, joblessness has hit men hardest and the trend of men losing their jobs faster than women is occurring not only in Oregon but across the nation.

The view from Japan’s consulate

DSC_0091After four years as consul-general of Japan in Auckland, the bustling business capital of New Zealand, 58-year-old Takamichi Okabe landed in Portland in September to start a similar assignment here in Oregon.

A holly, jolly forecast

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Reports are coming in from points north that this Christmas season is going to be a good one for the seasonal Santa sector. The recession might hammer holiday retail spending, but “People will give up a lot of things first before they give up Christmas,” says Santa Pat Lewis of North Pole outpost Silverton.

Fresh hope for the mint industry

MintGrowers and distillers of Oregon’s troubled peppermint industry hope that a not-so-new invention will help increase their crop’s international competitiveness.

Big contract in a little town

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A technology company in Coos Bay has been awarded an $8 million contract from the Federal Aviation Administration to upgrade FAA infrastructure in multiple states.

Red tape for green projects

Complications with the state's Construction Contractors Board (CCB) could cool the warm glow from incentives aimed at improving home energy use.

Solarize Portland catches fire

Energy_Trust_c0042Homeowners in a Southeast Portland neighborhood have banded together to buy and install solar panels, knocking significant chunks off the price through high-volume purchasing. The 6-month-old Solarize Portland program has wildly exceeded expectations.