Elephants lead zoo expansion

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Written by Emma H.   
Thursday, December 20, 2012

12.21.12 Thumbnail ElephantsWith elephant calf Lily nearly three weeks old, the Oregon Zoo has a more tangible reason to expand their elephant enclosure. On Tuesday, Metro unanimously approved two resolutions to help the state’s most popular paid tourist attraction expand.

BY EMMA HALL

elephants
New parents Rose-tu (left) and Tusko at the Oregon Zoo. 
// Photo courtesy Oregon Zoo

With the birth of its new elephant calf, Lily, the Oregon Zoo has a more tangible reason to expand their elephant enclosure.  The zoo has a history of baby elephant fever leading to public approval of expansions. When the zoo's first elephant, Rosy, arrived in 1953, voters passed a levy to pay for construction of a new on-site facility, a levy that had been rejected only a few years before.

Lily was the 28th calf born at the zoo, starting with Packy in 1962. Less than three weeks after she was born, Metro unanimously approved two resolutions to help the state’s most popular paid tourist attraction expand its enclosures for endangered Asian elephants.

One resolution increased the zoo’s budget for a planned on-site elephant habitat known as Elephant Lands. The zoo’s current elephant habitat is 1.5 acres, but the planned 6-acre expansion has been in the works since voters approved it as a $39.5 million chunk of a $125 million bond measure in 2008. Geotechnical issues with old landslides pushed the project plans $13.1 million over the agreed upon budget due to stabilization needs. Even after cutting corners wherever possible, the zoo’s modified proposal came out $3.9 million over the original budget.

Metro approved the budget overrun, plus $1 million more that had been cut in the cost-saving deliberations. The extra money comes from an unexpected $10 million premium from bond sales in May

The second resolution gives Metro COO Martha Bennett the authority to purchase 240 acres in Clackamas County. The land on the former site of Portland General Electric’s Roslyn Lake Park will become an elephant reserve, greatly expanding the Oregon Zoo’s elephant program. The purchase agreement with PGE has the price of the land at $900,000, but that was set to go up to $1 million if Metro didn’t act by Dec. 31. The purchase was another part of the 2008 Oregon Zoo bond measure.

The large space will allow elephants to form herds and live more like they do in the wild. The zoo hopes to have two herds, one at each site, to better allow bulls to move between the groups. Currently, the elephant's three bulls and matriarchal herd act as four separate groups, with zoo officials deciding when the elephants socialize with each other. With Rose-Tu's first calf, 4-year-old male Samudra, nearing maturation, allowing the elephants to choose how they spend their time would benefit both the elephants and zoo keepers. And in Portland, where Packy is one of the best known local celebrities, expanding the elephant breeding population will prove to be a much-talked about affair.

Emma Hall is web editor for Oregon Business.

 

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Editor's Letter: Power Play

January-Powerbook 2015
Thursday, December 11, 2014

There’s a fascinating article in the December issue of the Harvard Business Review about a profound power shift taking place in business and society. It’s a long read, but the gist revolves around the tension between “old power” and “new power” as a driver of transformation. Here’s an excerpt:

Old power works like a currency. It is held by few. Once gained, it is jealously guarded, and the powerful have a substantial store of it to spend. It is closed, inaccessible, and leader-driven. It downloads, and it captures.

New power operates differently, like a current. It is made by many. It is open, participatory, and peer-driven. It uploads, and it distributes. Like water or electricity, it’s most forceful when it surges. The goal with new power is not to hoard it but to channel it.

The authors, Henry Timms and Jeremy Heimans, don’t necessarily favor one form of power over another but merely outline how power is transitioning, and how companies can take advantage of these changes to strengthen their positions in the marketplace. 

Our Powerbook issue might be viewed as a case study in the new-power transition. This annual book of lists provides information on leading businesses, nonprofits and universities in the state. Most of the featured companies are entrenched power players now pursuing more flexible and less hierarchical approaches to doing business. Law firms, for example, are adopting new technologies and fee structures to make legal services more accessible and affordable.

This month we also take a look at a controversial new U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rule requiring public companies to disclose the median pay of workers, as well as the ratio between CEO and median-worker pay. 

Part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, the rule will compel public companies to be more open about employee compensation, with the assumption that greater transparency will improve corporate performance and, perhaps, help address one of the major challenges of our time: income inequality.

New power is not only about strategy and tactics, the Harvard Business Review authors say. “The ultimate questions are ethical. The big question is whether new power can genuinely serve the common good and confront society’s most intractable problems.”

That sounds like a call to arms. Or a New Year’s resolution. Old power or new, the goals are the same: to be a force for positive change in the world. Happy 2015!

— Linda


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