Arbor Custom Homes recovering

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Friday, October 26, 2012

Arbor Custom Homes, the largest local homebuilder in Oregon, is recovering from the housing collapse.

They sold nearly 900 homes a year at the peak of the housing boom. This year, they expect to sell nearly 300.

But that's better than the 217 homes the company sold in 2011, and Arbor executives are touting the uptick as a sign of the company's and Washington County's resiliency in the wake of a housing market collapse that bankrupted many local homebuilders.

Arbor has been buoyed by the success its parent company, West Hills Development, has found in North Bethany, a long-planned unincorporated community just starting to take shape at the eastern edge of Washington County. The company got a multiple-year head start in the area, receiving permission from then-chairman Tom Brian and county commissioners to build as other developers were still stuck in planning negotiations for the neighboring subarea. Brian is now West Hills' lobbyist.

Read more at OregonLive.com.

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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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The 100 Best Companies survey is open

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100-best-logo-2015 500pxw-1How does your workplace stack up against competitors? How can you improve workplace practices to help recruit and retain employees? Find out by taking our 100 Best Companies to Work for in Oregon survey!


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Wednesday, October 22, 2014
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Fred Ziari aims to feed the global population.


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