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|Wednesday, August 12, 2009|
Let’s get the bad news out of the way first: One of Oregon’s most successful private companies in recent years, Integra Telecom, is on the verge of changing hands under less than ideal circumstances. A front-page story about a sharp increase in “distressed takeovers” in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal reported that Integra is being forced to turn over ownership to Tennenbaum Capital Partners LLC following a barrage of “hardball tactics” deployed by the debtholder.
(UPDATE, 3:50 PM: I just got a call from John Nee, VP for corporate communications for Integra, and he assured me that the impending change of ownership is actually a good thing since it will cut Integra's debt in half. "This positions us for substantial growth once the economy turns around," he says. I hope he's right, as do the 550 people who work for Integra in Portland. Nee also pointed out that Integra's largest shareholder is Warburg Pincus of New York, so it's not a matter of losing local control.)
One disappointing detail from the Inc. 500: Not one of Oregon’s numerous green innovators made the list. That may change over the next few years. One company worth keeping your eye on is Shorepower, a developer of truck stop electricity systems that was launched in New York in 2005 but has transferred its operations to Portland partly because of the green-friendly business climate here. Shorepower only employs five people currently, but it recently won a $22.2 million federal grant in collaboration with Canby-based nonprofit Cascade Sierra Solutions that is expected to create 962 jobs building a national network of electrified parking slots for truckers. These plug-in areas will allow truckers who would normally keep their big diesels churning, polluting the air and wasting fuel, to shut their rigs off without losing the heat, air conditioning, video and music systems they’ve come to rely on.
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Tonkon Torp helps seed sustainability at Gunderson.
Oregon-based Environments helps companies create inspired workspaces. “Simply put, we help companies future-proof their workspaces,” says Chris Corrado, president. Since 1988,Environments has witnessed firsthand the changing landscape of business. Native Portlander and Environments founder Corrado says, “We help our clients navigate the complex realities of the workplace today and plan for their future in a very mindful, strategic way. We think of ourselves as their partners in the process.”
One hundred years ago, the Willamette River might easily have been mistaken for a sewer. Unchecked industrial activity and decades of pollution made it unrecognizable compared to the clean river that now flows north for 187 miles from Eugene through the center of Portland.
The Oregon Entrepreneurs Network (OEN) will be presenting its third annual Entrepreneurial Summit on Friday, June 5 at Castaway in Portland, Oregon.
On June 13th Mayor Charlie Hales will attend nonprofit organization Dream Change’s inaugural Love Summit and will introduce one of its keynote speakers, Dan Wieden of Wieden+Kennedy advertising agency.
34 spots for food, 17 places to sip, and 7 sites to choose a brew beckon visitors.