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|Articles - December 2010|
|Wednesday, November 17, 2010|
The state’s long-suffering timber industry is shipping more logs than ever to China as prices in that market rise while others remain stagnant.
The trend represents a growing source of revenue for an industry devastated by the downfall of the domestic housing market. But it could turn controversial. The export of raw logs from Oregon to Japan in the 1980s brought criticism from environmental groups and local communities that lost jobs when mills shut down and production shifted to Asia. It is now illegal to export raw logs cut down on public land in the West but the ban does not apply to private land.
To meet overseas demand for raw logs, the Port of Astoria in November began welcoming log ships after a 14-year absence. Westerlund Log Handlers of Bremerton, Wash., set up an export facility in Astoria in response to frustration over having to wait in increasingly long lines to export from Tacoma and Seattle.
In Longview, Wash., big timber players such as Weyerhaeuser have been shipping logs to China for some time. And in Coos Bay, once the busiest departure point for Oregon logs bound for Japan, China is the new destination of choice. “Prices are generally more attractive in that market,” says Kathy Budinick, director of communications for Seattle-based timber giant Plum Creek, which sells raw logs to brokers who export from Coos Bay and other Northwest ports.
Martin Callery, a spokesman for the International Port of Coos Bay, says the first vessel loaded with Oregon logs shipped from Coos Bay to China in August and a dozen more are expected to depart over the winter. Feeding the pipeline are a variety of small and large timber companies holding private land within a 250-mile radius of Coos Bay. Timber companies previously had balked at selling to Chinese buyers because they were offering “ridiculous prices,” Callery says, but now the price has improved enough to justify the sales. “Logs to China is definitely a new market,” he says. “We’ll see how long the market holds up.”
Another unknown is political opposition. Log exports have become a source of protest in British Columbia, where the Ancient Forest Alliance recently called for a ban on the shipping of raw logs to China. Many nations have banned log exports, among them Bolivia, Brazil and Indonesia.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
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A look-in on the life of Norris & Stevens' president.
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BY DEBRA RINGOLD | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
How important are institutional and/or program evaluations provided by third parties in selecting a college or university program?
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There’s a fascinating article in the December issue of the Harvard Business Review about a profound power shift taking place in business and society. It’s a long read, but the gist revolves around the tension between “old power” and “new power” as a driver of transformation. Here’s an excerpt:
The authors, Henry Timms and Jeremy Heimans, don’t necessarily favor one form of power over another but merely outline how power is transitioning, and how companies can take advantage of these changes to strengthen their positions in the marketplace.
Our Powerbook issue might be viewed as a case study in the new-power transition. This annual book of lists provides information on leading businesses, nonprofits and universities in the state. Most of the featured companies are entrenched power players now pursuing more flexible and less hierarchical approaches to doing business. Law firms, for example, are adopting new technologies and fee structures to make legal services more accessible and affordable.
This month we also take a look at a controversial new U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rule requiring public companies to disclose the median pay of workers, as well as the ratio between CEO and median-worker pay.
Part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, the rule will compel public companies to be more open about employee compensation, with the assumption that greater transparency will improve corporate performance and, perhaps, help address one of the major challenges of our time: income inequality.
New power is not only about strategy and tactics, the Harvard Business Review authors say. “The ultimate questions are ethical. The big question is whether new power can genuinely serve the common good and confront society’s most intractable problems.”
That sounds like a call to arms. Or a New Year’s resolution. Old power or new, the goals are the same: to be a force for positive change in the world. Happy 2015!
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