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April 14, 2010

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Oregon unemployment won't budge

Oregon's unemployment rate remained at 10.6% in March, the state's fifth consecutive month of stagnation. Oregon's rate is still almost a percentage point above the national average.

While job losses are declining, employment growth is still slow, particularly in the construction sector.

“I’m a good worker, and I’ve done a lot of good things over the years,” says Robert Keplinger, an unemployed Portland contractor with a wife, three kids, no health insurance and no money for a construction bond to continue in business. “I just don’t feel I deserve to be like this.”

Oregon employment figures released Tuesday showed the state lost only 400 nonfarm payroll jobs in March, seasonally adjusted. The decline is far less than the thousands of jobs lost monthly at times over the past few years.

Read the full story at OregonLive.com.

Rose Quarter process questioned

The Portland City Council is set to move forward with plans to redevelop the Rose Quarter, but five members of the Rose Quarter Stakeholder Advisory Committee think the process needs to be put on hold.

The members issued a minority report criticizing a lack of competition in the process.

Committee members Will Macht, Dean Gisvold, Joseph Readdy, Alicia Rose and Anthony Stacy have submitted a minority report to city council asking the council to reject the recommendations of the advisory committee to invite three development proposals to enter the Request for Proposals process. Instead, the group says the process should be put on hold until issues related to Memorial Coliseum’s operating agreement have been resolved.

The proposals, which include the TrailBlazers/Winterhawks concept, the Memorial Athletic and Recreation Center and the Veterans Memorial Arts and Athletic Center, were narrowed down over the last few months from 96 other development schemes presented to the committee.

Read the full story at the Daily Journal of Commerce.

Intel earnings signal rebound

Intel's first-quarter earnings were up 44% from the same period last year, the best start to any year in Intel's history.

Because Intel controls about 80% of the world's chip market, the company's profits are a good indication that the downturn is over for the microprocessor industry.

The company offered nothing but encouragement on that front today, suggesting that consumers have opened their wallets and that businesses are beginning to, as well. And after four years of steadily trimming jobs, Intel said it plans to add 1,000 employees this year to its global work force of 80,000.

Though based in California, Intel employs nearly 15,000 in Oregon -- more than any other place the company operates. It has more workers in the state than any other business.

Read the full story at OregonLive.com.

Timber harvests on the table in Southern Oregon

The U.S. Forest Service is proposing a management plan in the High Cascades Ranger District in the Siskiyou Mountains that could lead to the harvest of millions of board feet of timber.

Harvest levels have not yet been determined for the project, which focuses primarily on improving forest health, reducing wildfire threats and creating jobs.

The acreage is scattered throughout a block shaped like the state of Oregon between Highway 230 and Crater Lake National Park. The southern tip of the tract is about 15 miles north of Prospect.

District ranger Kerwin Dewberry sent a letter to local residents on Friday informing them of the proposed management project, and asked for comments as part of a required National Environmental Policy Act scoping process.

Read the full story at the Mail Tribune.

Business icon dies

Al Reser, CEO and chairman of Reser's Fine Foods, died Monday night at the age of 74 while vacationing in Florida.

Reser leaves behind years of both business and philanthropic contributions, supporting everything from alma mater Oregon State University to Special Olympics Oregon. The company he founded and ran, Reser's Fine Foods, employs more than 2,000 people.

Reser's contributions transformed Oregon State University, whose football stadium bears his name and where buildings continue to rise with his millions of dollars in donations...

"Al touched the lives of anyone he met -- and thousands more through his support," Gov. Ted Kulongoski said in a statement on Tuesday. "Al Reser was a man of great generosity, kindness and compassion."

Read the full story at OregonLive.com.

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