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March 8, 2010

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While movement begins in the nuclear sector and government jobs hold steady, one McMinnville company loses a major aviation client.

Boeing drops Evergreen

McMinnville-based Evergreen International Aviation was surprised to learn that it has lost its contract to operate Boeing Co.'s "Dreamlifter" super freighters.

Evergreen says it was given no reason for the contract loss or an opportunity to submit a rival bid to Atlas Air, which now has the contract.

"It really puts us in a bad position," [Evergreen Chairman Tim Wahlberg] said. "So to say we're disappointed, absolutely. And we're really disappointed that Boeing hasn't come clean on what the deal is. It kind of hurts our reputation."

Boeing has four Dreamlifters, 747s that have been modified by greatly expanding the fuselage to hold large subassemblies of 787s made by other companies.

Read the full story at Mail Tribune.

OSU prof leads nuclear charge

Oregon State University professor Jose Reyes Jr. is the chief technology officer for NuScale Power, which is seeking approval from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a smaller and simpler reactor than the Three Mile Island plant whose reactor core partially melted in 1979.

Reyes hopes it will be a move toward a nuclear-power resurgence, which he says has made significant improvements over the years.

"There have been huge advances in maintenance, operations and safety," Reyes says. "There's no carbon dioxide, no acid rain. Nuclear has a lot of advantages over coal-fired plants."

The Northwest has a humbling history with nuclear power, including the premature shutdown of Portland General Electric's Trojan plant and the abandonment of partially finished plants by the Washington Public Power Supply System, more commonly known as "Whoops."

Read the full story at OregonLive.com.

Bend tech firm's wide reach

Manufacturing and technology company Powers of Automation has a wide range of expertise, taking on projects for clients ranging from pharmaceutical manufacturers to breweries.

The Bend-based business, staffed by owner Steve Powers and an 11-person crew, has extended its reach beyond local clients.

Last year, when the H1N1 scare was in its height, Powers of Automation worked on a 20,000-square-foot cold room in Tennessee, which was used to store the flu vaccine. Powers' business mapped the entire room and installed control panels that maintained an equal temperature throughout the room to keep the vaccines from deteriorating.

On a project Powers recently landed, his business will retrofit the technology that controls a process used to measure contaminant levels in storm water. His client's machine filters storm water through a tank of bacteria, and currently uses outdated technology to measure the level of oxygen in the tank to determine contamination in the water, Powers said.

Read the full story at The Bulletin.

Government jobs grow

The number of private-sector jobs in Coos Bay peaked at 17,430 in 2006, but the figure fell to 15,700 by the third quarter of 2009.

However, government jobs in Coos County have seen a smaller decline and state jobs have even managed to grow because of the recession.

The state’s Human Services department sees increased demand as people lose their jobs and need government assistance. And other public-sector jobs usually withstand the initial onslaught of an economic downturn. When housing construction dried up, electricians lost their jobs, but city planners still had outstanding projects to keep them working. And people still need government services, such as fire fighting, even in bad economic times.

“Government usually lags with layoffs and might lag when things start to improve,” said [State Economic Analyst Dwayne Stevenson], who works for the Oregon Employment Division.

Read the full story at The World Link.

2011 session cut short

Like the recent special session, which was cut short from 45 days to 28 days (and finished in 25), the 2011 legislative session is budgeted to last only five months.

It will be the shortest legislative session during an odd-numbered year since 1971.

The 2011 session also will start later — Feb. 1, a Tuesday — and that is where Senate Bill 1063 kicks in.

Lawmakers still will meet on the second Monday of January, when their terms begin under the Oregon Constitution, for an organizational pre-session. That date next year is Jan. 10, when Ted Kulongoski's successor as governor also takes office. So there still will be hoopla that day.

Read the full story at the Statesman Journal.

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