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|Thursday, June 13, 2013|
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
By her own accounting, Secretary of State Kate Brown is taking more risks her second term than the first. In May, the Senate approved a B-Corp bill championed by her office that would allow companies to register under a moniker that reflects their commitment to social and environmental sustainability.
Brown is also pushing full steam ahead on a (controversial) proposal to automate voter registration and several small business bills aimed at addressing the state's business-friendly ranking.
I met with Brown earlier this week at Oui Presse in Portland’s Hawthorne District.
Here are a few highlights from our 40-minute conversation.
"People ask: why are we doing this? But why in Oregon wouldn’t you want to do this? We need a legal structure for companies to operate for public purpose in addition to profit. When I talk to students in MBA programs, social entrepreneurship is what they want to do. They want to save the world but make money doing it.
I don’t know that [B-Corp legislation] will change the business climate in Oregon, but it is a great marketing and branding tool.
We did a couple of things differently from other states' B-Corp legislation. We allow LLCs to become benefit companies, so it's a little bit broader in that respect. But we are more restrictive in terms of shareholder restrictions. We wanted to be able to have the support of our Fortune 500 companies moving forward."
Office of Small Business Assistance
"We built a portal for the state of Oregon to help businesses navigate regulations, and it became really clear there was a problem because there was no help line. Everybody says small businesses get in trouble with state government or regulations, but we had no help. So we looked at other models from other states. We just came out of committee this morning on the Office of Small Business Assistance. It will give us ability to hire two [full time employees] to provide assistance and advocate for new entrepreneurs or the small business owner who wants to expand.
Our office has no regulatory or enforcement authority; we are ministrial so we can be a real help. We are required to report back to the legislature about barriers for businesses. We keep hearing that Oregon is so difficult to do business in, but for the first time that information won’t be anecdotal."
"This was introduced by Caddy McKeown, legislator for the South Coast, requiring us to study the local fee situation and take a look at fees charged by local governments."
"People have this perception we're not business friendly, but if you look at the national rankings we do ok. Last year, Oregon was ranked No. 14 on Forbes' ranking of business friendly states and the year before we were 9th."
"The second term is much more fun than the first term. There is a level of freedom and willingness to take risks. And honestly, I have a different staff. My first term staff was a little more cautious. Now I’m saying: guys this could be it. I may not ever be in elected office again. Let’s go for it.
So we have the voter registeration proposal. I’m appalled Americans allow us to have an election system that is subpar in the world. Are you kidding? People have to wait in line to vote? In a lot of other countries you are registered by virtue of being a citizen. Even Iraq has an automatic voter registration system.
In general, I'm looking at how we move, shake and have a paradigm shift while we’re here."
Linda Baker keeps tabs on CEOs and public policy issues.
Tuesday, July 08, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
The New Yorker recently published a sharply worded critique of “disruptive innovation,” one of the most widely cited theories in the business world today. The article raises questions about the descriptive value of disruption and innovation — whether the terms are mere buzzwords or actually explain today's extraordinarily complex and fast changing business environment.
Update: We caught up with Portland's Thomas Thurston, who shared his data driven take on the disruption controversy.
Friday, July 18, 2014
BY JASON NORRIS | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR
Back in May, we shared a common Wall Street quote about investing, “Sell in May and go away.” Fast forward to July and the most common question we have been getting from clients is, “When is the market pullback going to occur?”
Thursday, July 31, 2014
BY MARY SPILDE | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR
Faced with the aftermath of the “great recession,” increasing concern about the environment and dwindling family wage jobs, we have some very important choices to make about our future.
Wednesday, August 06, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
Portland startup Green Endeavor strikes gold, inking a partnership with Underwriters Laboratories, an Illinois-based consulting and certification company with offices in 46 countries.
Thursday, August 28, 2014
OB Research Editor Kim Moore shares some pointers about the 100 Best Companies to Work For survey.
Friday, August 15, 2014
In this week's poll, we asked readers: "Who should pay for the troubled Cover Oregon website?" Here are the results.
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
BY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER
Tom Cox interviews Steve Balzac, author of "Organizational Psychology for Managers."
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Lane Powell Shareholder William T. Patton has been appointed to the board of directors for Cascade AIDS Project, an organization that provides educational services and outreach to thousands of Oregonians living with HIV/AIDS.
Fifty-one Lane Powell lawyers were recently selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® (Best Lawyers) 2015; of those selected, 23 lawyers are from the Firm’s office in Portland, Oregon.
Barran Liebman is proud to announce that Andrew Schpak, a Partner of the firm, has been named Chair of the American Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division for the 2014-2015 bar year.