While still struggling with 9% unemployment, the powers that be in the great state of Oregon have done a remarkable job ignoring the obvious concerning job creation. Due to abundant rainfall and a mild climate Oregon is still one of the best places on planet earth to grow trees.
For every big-city food cart vendor using Twitter to advertise lunch specials and bring in hungry workers, there’s a befuddled entrepreneur dutifully Twittering or Facebooking away to no useful effect — or worse, getting sucked into Farmville and forgetting to mind the store.
Okay, so Otak is no Stumptown. Actually, Otak is twice as big as Stumptown, and while it may not have a fanatic customer base among hipsters, it does have 300 employees with deep expertise in how to make cities work better. So when a foreign company buys a majority stake in Otak, it’s a big deal for Oregon.
Earlier this year, Powell’s Books made national headlines by eliminating 31 jobs in Portland, stirring up familiar questions about the future of independent booksellers in the age of e-readers and smart phones. But a quick study of the latest numbers from Oregon’s top private companies shows that Powell’s actually survived the recession in a stronger position than many of its peers.