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May 5, 2010

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Oregonians see little recovery

A new poll shows that Oregonians believe there are more tough times ahead, despite some experts' claims that the recession is over.

The poll, which was conducted for the Portland Tribune, Fox News 12 and Oregon Public Broadcasting, demonstrates pessimistic views, particularly of Oregon's economy.

According to the survey, 52 percent of respondents describe the national economy as recovering. Only 17 percent of respondents believe the recovery will be strong enough to substantially reduce unemployment in a year or so, however...

Significantly, almost half the respondents — 47 percent — think Oregon’s economy is worse than the rest of the nation. Thirty-two percent think it is the same, while 12 percent think it is better.

Read the whole story at the Portland Tribune.

LNG project on hold

NorthernStar Natural Gas announced yesterday that it is suspending plans to build a LNG terminal at river mile 38 of the Columbia River.

The plan was opposed by property owners and environmentalists, and had already spent $100 million of investors' capital.

Mike Carrier, natural resources policy director for Gov. Ted Kulongoski, said the company told him Tuesday that another developer could conceivably resurrect the project. But Carrier said the company told him its financial backer, a private equity fund that has put $100 million into the company's LNG proposals in Oregon and California, was pulling the plug.

NorthernStar began development work nearly six years ago at an abandoned mill site on the lower Columbia River. At the time, gas prices were high and importing the commodity to the United States from abroad seemed like a lucrative opportunity.

Read the full story at OregonLive.com.

Klamath Tribes land deal sparks debate

Sen. Jeff Merkley has declared opposition to a land deal that would place 385 acres of land in a trust for the Klamath Tribes of Chiloquin.

The deal was proposed by brothers Chris and Tom Maletis, who currently own the Clackamas County land and would lease it from the tribes.

The land... is designated as a rural reserve by Metro and Clackamas County, meaning it can’t be considered for urban development over the next 40 years. The brothers are proposing construction of a green industrial development on the property, although city leaders from the surrounding towns are concerned that the 2005 proposition of a mega-casino could be rehashed.

Under the deal the developers would apply with the Bureau of Indian Affairs to place the land into a trust for the Klamath Tribes of Chiloquin. The tribes would then lease the land back to the brothers, freeing them of state, county and municipal land-use regulations under the Klamath Restoration Act of 1986. Loose wording in the Klamath Restoration Act makes it difficult to determine if the tribe can be trusted land only in the general vicinity of their reservation, or anywhere. Langdon Farms is about 250 miles away from the tribe’s original reservation.

Read the full story at the Daily Journal of Commerce.

Portland attracts global business

Enrique Razon Jr., head of International Container Terminal Services Inc., hopes to make Portland's Terminal 6 the site of his Filipino company's first U.S. venture.

Port officials see this as an opportunity to expand global connections.

Port managers say a private company could do better marketing and operating much of the 386-acre container terminal, which has struggled to retain shipping lines due to its 100-mile distance from the Pacific Ocean. On Tuesday, the head of the union at Terminal 6 endorsed the 25-year lease to Razon's company...

Port managers defended their decision to negotiate directly with Razon's company instead of taking competitive bids. Ten companies qualified for a lease of 50 years or more that was contemplated during an earlier round suspended in 2008 due to the recession, said Sam Ruda, Port director of marine and industrial development.

Read the full story at OregonLive.com.

Deadline close for parking contract

The Portland Bureau of Transportation may award a parking contract of 4,000 spots in six garages to a Nashville firm.

City Center Parking and Star Park, Portland's dominant parking companies, must protest this decision by tomorrow.

Both local companies have courted the support of city commissioners. City Center boss Greg Goodman is one of the city’s most active and visible business leaders. His counterpart at Star Park, Barry Schlesinger, keeps a lower profile. But there is nothing low-profile about Schlesinger’s ally, Roy Jay, president of the African American Chamber of Commerce. Jay lobbied hard for Star Park’s successful 2003 bid and maintains a regular City Hall presence.

But all three - Goldman, Schlesinger and Jay - could be out in the cold if they don’t figure out a “Hail Mary” strategy pretty fast. The scores the city posted on its website show Central Park System far ahead of the two Portland companies in the view of the panel that ranked their bids for the three-year contract, which is scheduled to start this July 1: Central Parking System got 317 points; Ace Parking, 289; City Center, 282; Star Park 254.

Read the full story at Willamette Week.

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