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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.
Wednesday, September 09, 2015
BY CHRIS NOBLE | ART DIRECTOR
Tuesday, October 06, 2015
BY CHRIS NOBLE
As we worked on the October cover, it became evident that Nick Symmonds is a hard man to catch — even when he’s not hotfooting it around a track.
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
BY KIM MOORE
Striving for social equity is the mission of many nonprofits, and this year’s 100 Best Nonprofits to Work For in Oregon survey shows employees are most satisfied with their organizations’ fair treatment of differing racial, gender, disability, age and economic groups. But as a national discourse about racial discrimination and equity for low-income groups takes center stage, data show Oregon’s 100 Best Nonprofits to Work For still need to make progress on addressing these issues within their own organizations.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
BY GINA BINOLE
Screening for “culture fit” has become an essential part of the hiring process. But do like-minded employees actually build strong companies — or merely breed consensus culture?
Monday, September 28, 2015
BY DAN COOK
Eastern Oregon marketers refocus rural assets through an urban lens.
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
BY GREGG LEWIS | OP-ED
The issue of green-washing remains a significant challenge to those of us who would like to see the building sector in this country do more than make unverifiable claims of sustainability. Transparency about the impacts of a given material is the only way to allow designers to make intelligent choices when selecting building products.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
BY LINDA WESTON
In 1996, after a 17-year career in the destination marketing industry, where I gained national standing as the CEO of the Convention & Visitors Association of Lane County, I was recruited by the founders of a new professional basketball league for women. The American Basketball League (ABL) hoped to leverage the success of the 1996 USA women’s national team at the Atlanta Olympics — much like USA Soccer is now leveraging the U.S. Women’s National Team’s victory in the World Cup. The ABL wanted a team in Portland, and they wanted me to be its general manager.
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