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April 20, 2010

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Linear Technology considers new fab

California-based Linear Technology Corp. is considering building a new computer chip factory next to its current facility in Camas, Wash.

It would be the first computer chip factory to be built in the Silicon Forest since 2003. A decision could be made by the end of the year, says chief executive Lothar Maiar.

"It just feels very strange talking about it," he said this afternoon, "because I would have told you just a few quarters ago that wasn't very likely."

What's changed at Linear is emblematic of what's changed in the broader high-tech economy. Last week, Intel reported spectacular growth and announced it plans to add 1,000 additional jobs. Google and others are hiring, too, signaling a rapid rebound in technology.

Read the full story at OregonLive.com.

DeFazio goes after Goldman Sachs

Three days after Goldman Sachs was charged with misleading and defrauding investors, Congressman Peter DeFazio is calling for a more thorough investigation of the bank's actions.

DeFazio and Maryland Congressman Elijah E. Cummings wrote a letter to Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Mary Shapiro demanding a closer look into the scandal.

The criminal complaint on Friday "is based on a single CDO known as ABACUS 2007-AC1,'' the letter states. CDO is shorthand for collateralized debt obligations, complex investments tied to mortgage securities that Goldman and other financial institutions sold during the peak of the housing bubble.

"However, the ABACUS 2007-AC1 offering was part of a series of 25 such CDOs, all arranged by Goldman Sachs. It is not beyond the realm of comprehension that the 24 remaining ABACUS transactions included similar materially misleading statements to investors in order to protect Goldman’s internal proprietary bets,'' the letter says.

Read the full story at OregonLive.com.

Doctor drought looms in Oregon

The Association of American Medical Colleges is predicting a shortage of 150,000 doctors over the next 15 years.

And Henry Veldman, regional vice president of PeaceHealth Medical Group in Eugene, predicts that 300,000 of the 800,000 licensed physicians in America will retire within the next five years or so.

More patients and fewer doctors could lead to longer wait times and shorter doctor visits.

Veldman says with millions of more people having insurance under recently passed health care reform, access will be even harder. He says PeaceHealth is looking into "team-based" medicine. "So you have the physician, you have some nurses, you have health coaches and we see that as a way to combat the coming physician shortage," he says.

Read the full story at KATU.com.

Bikers bring business

The Portland-based Rose City Grand Tour runs from now through September, sending bikers through 20 cities in Oregon, Washington, Montana and Canada.

With as many as 500 bikers participating in the tour, the small-town businesses named as checkpoints are looking forward to a big boost in retail sales, dining and lodging.

[John Goff, road captain for the tour], estimated that checkpoint businesses see 300 to 500 new customers during the tour.

"When we go to extremely remote areas and walk through the door of a business that's struggling to survive and offer them customers free of charge, they're usually delighted to see us," he said.

Read the full story at the Statesman Journal.

Gassy to the end

The Tillamook Creamery Association, the Port of Tillamook Bay and other partners are gearing up for a feasibility study to see if cow carcasses can become a new energy source.

The study will determine whether a biodigester can convert the carcasses into methane gas, which in turn could be converted into electricity.

Currently, the Tillamook Creamery Association trucks 20 loads of cow carcasses per month to Coffin Butte landfill in Corvallis - at 160 miles per round trip, according to Jennifer Purcell, solid waste coordinator for Tillamook County. The Tillamook Creamery Association pays $125,000 annually for carcass disposal, said Shawn Reiersgaard, the company’s director of environmental and political affairs.

The state of Oregon no longer has any rendering facilities, which convert animal tissue into useful byproducts, such as lard. All of Oregon’s rendering facilities were privately owned, and experienced a decrease in profitability due to mad cow disease and other issues. The notoriously smelly facilities also drew many city complaints. Finally, Oregon’s last rendering facility, in Redmond, closed several years ago.

Read the full story at the Daily Journal of Commerce.

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