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A break from skepticism

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Articles - April 2011
Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spring is finally here and hopeful green sprigs are sprouting in the economic landscape.

Wait a minute, that’s exactly how I started my column in last year’s April issue. Can you plagiarize yourself?

Well, I don’t care. April’s full-on spring makes me giddy with anticipation, happy that the days are getting longer and the weather warmer. It makes me optimistic, even a bit more cheerful than my usual skeptical editor self.

So I’ll drop the skepticism for the moment and look forward to the Timbers opening the much-anticipated season April 14. Much anticipated by fans, yes, but also the businesses who’ve invested in them, and those located around PGE stadium. I hope the investment pays off. The city has put $12 million into the renovation of the stadium (in the latest go-round) and the area around it could use a boost. Let’s hope the jobs and economic payback promised by the Timbers really does happen.

Another investment that has promise is the growing interest in Oregon by Chinese investors. As managing editor Ben Jacklet’s cover story explains, everything from rural biomass projects to urban redevelopment could get an infusion of Chinese capital.

For inspiration of the best kind, look no further than our profile of Preston Pulliams, president of Portland Community College. Since 2004, Pulliams has led the college with a vision firmly planted in his history, that no one is turned away from PCC because they can’t afford it. PCC has posted record enrollment, along with an ambitious building plan.

And there is always hope to be found in rural entrepreneurship. In Lincoln City, they’ve developed the right mix of strategic savvy and risk-taking to evolve their city from just another seasonal tourist trap to one that’s finding ways to capitalize and grow beyond its beachside assets. Not to mention green-lighting and nurturing one of the country’s gnarliest skateboard parks.

Spring also brings the anticipation of our annual 100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon project. The survey sign-up starts April 18. This year we’ve made an important change: Volunteers can now be counted as part of the workforce number requirements. Given that most nonprofits run their entire operation with volunteers, we think it better represents the nonprofit workforce. Go to Oregon100Best.com on or after that date to sign up.

And in the June issue we’ll announce the 100 Best Green Companies to Work For in Oregon, derived from the sustainability questions we asked companies and nonprofits that took last year’s surveys. But that’s getting into summer, and I’m getting ahead of myself. For now, I want to savor spring’s delicious return. Maybe I’ll use that in next year’s column.


Robin Doussard

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