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April 19, 2010

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Gerding Edlen investors lose millions

Gerding Edlen Development Co., one of Oregon's largest real-estate companies, built 3,200 condos worth $1.6 billion during its peak years.

But some of the company's largest projects have been repossessed by lenders, resulting in losses of about $100 million. Now the company is focusing on green building for its recovery strategy.

"About everything that could go wrong did go wrong," said [Portland real-estate investor Robert D. Scanlan], whose firm made and then lost millions on Gerding Edlen's projects. "The fact that they're still standing, that he's still standing, is a semi-miracle."

Instead of constructing new buildings this time, the company hopes to buy old ones, put them through green makeovers and hold the buildings or sell them.

Read the full story at OregonLive.com.

End near for recall campaign

The deadline to submit signatures to recall Portland Mayor Sam Adams is Tuesday, rasing questions as to whether the campaign has garnered enough support to make the ballot.

Campaign sponsor Avel Gordly has insisted that the required 32,185 Portland voter signatures would be collected, but the campaign had only gathered 20,000 signatures as of several weeks ago.

The mailings and related efforts are targeted at many of the people who signed recall petitions during last year’s unsuccessful volunteer campaign. Organizer Jasun Wurster claimed approximately 30,000 signatures were collected during that effort, although they were never publicly revealed. Wurster turned the petitions over to the paid campaign for their use. During the past two months, the campaign has repeatedly e-mailed supporters to say that a high percent of the previous signers were returning new petitions.

The campaign will likely have to submit more than 32,185 signatures to succeed, however. A number of invalid signatures are always collected during petition drives, either because the signers are not properly registered to vote or live outside jurisdictional limits. At the time, Wurster estimated the first campaign would have to collect around 40,000 signatures to have a chance of succeeding.

Read the full story at the Portland Tribune.

Insitu's power divides residents

Robotic aircraft-maker Insitu Inc. employs 730 people and benefits several companies around Bingen, Wash. and Hood River.

While Insitu's inventions were originally intended for measuring weather data and other peacetime uses, the Boeing subsidiary has shifted its strategy toward military applications, and not all local residents are happy about the change.

Organizers of the "Challenging Robotic Warfare and Social Control" conference want Hood River-area residents to rethink their close ties to the company.

"We're all beneficiaries from Insitu," said Trish Leighton of the Columbia River Fellowship for Peace, one of the conference organizers. "We would like for Insitu to continue as a business. There are other things they can do with their knowledge."

Read the full story at OregonLive.com.

Demand grows for urban chickens

More city residents are raising chickens in their yards, and new businesses are cropping up to take advantage of the new niche.

Growers say demand for chickens in urban areas has grown by as much as 20% a year since 2007.

“Historically, any time the economy has been bad, poultry has always been good,” said Bud Wood, president of the Iowa-based Murray McMurray Hatchery.

Murray McMurray is a leading shipper of retail-bound chicks, hatching 1.7 million annually.

Read the full story at The Register-Guard.

Tax refunds: the smaller, the better

This season, Oregonians are receiving an average state income tax refund of $665 and a federal average of $2,600.

But the National Endowment for Financial Education says it's best to avoid getting a big refund.

If you get a big refund, it’s because you had too much withheld from your paychecks last year.

“That means the federal government got an interest-free loan courtesy of you,” the nonprofit said. “While you had to get by on smaller-than-necessary paychecks throughout the year.”

Read the full story at The Register-Guard.

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