December 2009

The rise of Comic Town

scottyespromoMike Richardson never thought about whether Portland would work as a location to write, publish and produce comics. He just set up shop in the town where he was born and raised, worked at what he loved, and hit upon enormous success.

Lights out at the Hotel Condon

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There aren’t many hardy — or insane — souls who vacation in Condon in February, but call me crazy. I love eastern Oregon’s vast, rugged landscape in the winter.

Winter’s back, but spring is in the mail

flowers1Dahlias are odorless, but famously big and brightly colored; their vibrant, spiky blooms tend to dominate a garden. But the Northwest frost shrivels them completely, and at Swan Island Dahlias in Canby, where there are 40 acres of the flowers, it's as if a light has gone out.

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.