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|Articles - February 2011|
|Thursday, January 27, 2011|
Ochoco Lumber’s new biomass plant, built adjacent to its existing sawmill on its Malheur Lumber site in John Day, began churning out pellets this month.
The plant will bring jobs to a region with unemployment of more than 14%. Rick Minster, a business development officer for Business Oregon, the state’s economic development arm, stressed the impact of jobs created by the new plant. “The huge benefit is the retention aspect of having the facility there. It enhances the viability of the 80-plus jobs at the sawmill.” Beyond retaining those existing jobs, the biomass plant will directly create between 11-15 full-time jobs.
The factory was built despite an oversupply of pellet production that last year shut down three other wood pellet plants in Oregon. The project was financed with $50 million in new market tax credits allocated by Ecotrust, Midwest Renewable Capital and CEI Capital Management. It also received a $4.9 million federal stimulus grant.
The plant will turn material unsuitable for timber use — small-diameter trees and debris — into pellets and bricks for fuel.
“We think our product should stay as local as it possibly can, ” said Ochoco president Bruce Daucsavage, who plans on supplying pellets and bricks to the biomass heating systems at Harney County Hospital, Burns High School and the John Day Airport.
Daucsavage sees the new plant as a valuable addition to the sawmill. “It fits in beautifully to what we do because now we have a facility that can take this type of material,” he says. “It’s going to help us increase forest health, reduce fire risk and get some timber off these contracts.”
Gov. John Kitzhaber has formed a biomass transition team to promote the industry, led by John Shelk, the managing director of Ochoco. Sen. Ron Wyden is also a fervent supporter of the biomass industry and has been critical of the EPA’s attempts to regulate the industry under the Clean Air Act. The EPA in January deferred action for three years while it studies the long-term environmental impact of the industry.
Whether or not the industry will take off depends on financing, regulation and consumer demand. For the new plant in John Day, the numbers appear to have made sense. At least for now.
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A storied institution climbs down from the ivory tower.
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Ask any college student: Textbook prices have skyrocketed out of control. Online education startup Lumen Learning aims to bring them down to earth.
Monday, September 28, 2015
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Wednesday, September 30, 2015
BY KIM MOORE
Striving for social equity is the mission of many nonprofits, and this year’s 100 Best Nonprofits to Work For in Oregon survey shows employees are most satisfied with their organizations’ fair treatment of differing racial, gender, disability, age and economic groups. But as a national discourse about racial discrimination and equity for low-income groups takes center stage, data show Oregon’s 100 Best Nonprofits to Work For still need to make progress on addressing these issues within their own organizations.
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17 airlines make stops at Portland International Airport, but not all are created equal when it comes to customer service.
Monday, September 28, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN
To attract technology companies, the U.S. Bancorp Tower repositions itself as open, light and playful.
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
BY GREGG LEWIS | OP-ED
The issue of green-washing remains a significant challenge to those of us who would like to see the building sector in this country do more than make unverifiable claims of sustainability. Transparency about the impacts of a given material is the only way to allow designers to make intelligent choices when selecting building products.
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