January is always a time to reflect on the year gone by. As I look back at the magazine’s coverage in 2009, there is a distinct Dickensian quality.
It was the best of times:
We started out the year with a profile of the burgeoning bicycle industry in Portland and then in February examined the sturdiness and hope of Small Town, Oregon.
Spring brought a look at the state’s $18 billion shadow economy, which showed that the taxman might be losing, but the entrepreneur was finding a way to make a buck. Other businesses were taking advantage of the opportunities of a downturn: Gun sales were up and the industry was hiring, and pawnshops were doing a brisk business. We also found that the wine country was a bit recession- proof, as Joan Austin was completing her luxury Allison Inn in Newberg and the Southern Oregon wine region was growing.
As summer came around, we found a handful of private companies that had achieved gains as we ranked the top 150 private companies. We also found that the mobile app cluster in Portland, trade clubs and the Beaverton Foods empire were thriving. Fall and winter brought success stories about Portland’s indie music industry, hot zine and comic book scenes, and savvy companies who are growing and hiring, such as Ziba Design, New Seasons and TriQuint.
It was the worst of times:
Our bad-news coverage began with asking how the devastated economy of Central Oregon could find a way to recovery. (We didn’t get a great answer.) Stories about things that went splat included university endowments, the senior housing sector, Sunwest, tribal casinos, tourism on the Coast and local film festivals.
We found in our annual analysis that the fortunes of the state’s 54 public companies shrank. We chronicled how former timber towns around the state were fighting to survive and how the uninsured and newly jobless were flooding the state’s hospitals. Our examination of the nonprofit sector found most were struggling to stay alive as funding and donations dropped.
We even lost the sequel to Twilight.
This coming year undoubtedly will bring good and bad business news again, and we will cover both. But with apologies to Chuck, I could use a little more of the happy stuff.