The fourth Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference (ESTC) is in Portland today and Friday and this year it drew about 340 delegates from over 20 countries. Put on by the International Ecotourism Society (TIES) — which is celebrating its 20th year —the conference this year focuses on practical ideas.
How can we possibly bring down the costs of health care? What about the tax burden on small businesses? The patent backlog? The national debt? The lack of credit for growing businesses and startups? Those were just some of the hard questions directed at freshman Senator Jeff Merkley this morning at a “fireside chat” organized by the Software Association of Oregon at the Multnomah Athletic Club.
Portland’s high-profile Street of Dreams celebrated its 35th anniversary with a showcase of luxury houses in all shapes and sizes, ranging from a 1,250 sq. ft. pre-fab of the future from Ideabox that sells for about $150,000, to a 6,000 sq. ft. three-story mansion hidden in the forest. But in these trying times when Portland’s home sales are plummeting (the newest report from the National Association of Realtors shows that overall home sales in Portland were down 28.1% from last year), just how necessary is a show that touts the merits of expansive home gyms and large separate guest quarters?
The state’s new revenue forecast is out, and the findings are not pretty: nine consecutive quarters (and counting) of year-over-year job loss, surprisingly poor numbers in the professional services, financial and retail sectors and looming public sector cuts as backlash spreads over government spending. Housing starts are down, retail sales are sluggish and consumer confidence is understandably low. The Oregon job market is not expected to improve significantly until the fourth quarter of 2011.
The Greenbrier Companies, headquartered in Lake Oswego with a strong presence in Portland Harbor, has received $130 million worth of new railcar orders and will increase its workforce by 260 at its Gunderson railcar manufacturing facility in Northwest Portland. The company has received over 1,700 new orders and 1,200 refurbishment orders from five companies in North America.
The ribbon-cutting of Elizabeth Caruthers Park last Thursday sent a strong signal that the idealized South Waterfront District isn’t completely lost to a stalled economy. Quite the contrary, it looks as though the neighbors are finally moving in, and so is business.
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