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May 6, 2010

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LNG developer NorthernStar bankrupt

NorthernStar, the liquefied natural gas developer that recently halted development of a LNG import terminal near Astoria, has filed for bankruptcy.

The development of the terminal at Bradwood Landing was halted yesterday, with NorthernStar President Paul Soanes blaming the state for permit delays.

Gov. Ted Kulongoski's staff was told Tuesday the company's financial backer, a private equity fund that has put $100 million into the company's LNG proposals in Oregon and California, had pulled the plug.

When NorthernStar began developing Bradwood nearly six years ago, gas prices were high and importing the commodity to the United States from abroad seemed like a lucrative opportunity. But since then, increasing gas supplies -- in tandem with the economic recession -- has put domestic gas prices into a free fall, undermining LNG terminals that recently opened on the Gulf of Mexico and in Baja, Mexico, and casting doubts on efforts to build new ones.

Read the whole story at OregonLive.com.

Golden Temple sale near

A Michigan company, Hearthside Food Solutions, is reportedly set to buy Eugene-based cereal company Golden Temple.

The deal would affect Golden Temple's 230-employee cereal division, while the company plans to keep the Yogi Tea business.

Hearthside Food and Golden Temple have cleared the pre-merger waiting period required under federal law, according to the Federal Trade Commission. In general, a proposed merger worth more than $65.2 million triggers an investigation by federal antitrust regulators to make sure that the combination won’t be anticompetitive, according to the FTC...

Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy and Springfield Mayor Sid Leiken, who said they’d had no contact with Hearthside Food, said Golden Temple has been a good employer and corporate citizen, and they hope a new owner of the cereal business would continue that track record.

Read the whole story at The Register-Guard.

Old Town fears PDC move

Old Town shop owners worry that Portland Development Commission's possible decision to move out of their neighborhood could mean the collapse of their fragile businesses.

The PDC will decide May 12 whether to move its 185 employees to the half-built Park Avenue West building downtown.

The financial offers are close and likely to change right up until Wednesday’s decision day, says PDC chairman Scott Andrews. So, Andrews says, factors other than money will probably decide whether PDC stays or goes.

On the one hand, Andrews says, PDC’s mission is to create healthy neighborhoods, which it is helping to do in Old Town. On the other hand, PDC is committed to creating jobs, and signing a lease for Park Avenue West would mean up to 300 steelworkers, truck drivers and others getting back to work on that tower.

Read the whole story at The Portland Tribune.

ReVolt to charge Oregon's electric car industry

Swiss company ReVolt Technology has chosen Portland for its U.S. heaquarters and research-and-development facility.

ReVolt's zinc-air electric car battery is expected to last longer between charges and cost less than a lithium-ion battery, resolving the disadvantages electric cars have compared to gasoline-powered vehicles.

“We chose Portland because of its progressive stance on energy and its well-educated populace,” ReVolt CEO James McDougall said. “Our system combines the simplicity of a battery with the high energy density of a fuel cell at a low cost in a safe package using a material that is globally abundant.”

Of course, many other companies across the country, and around the world, are competing with ReVolt. And many of them, including powerful corporations like IBM and Toyota, are striving to achieve a common goal: development of a rechargeable, zinc-based battery for use in electric vehicles.

Read the whole story at the Daily Journal of Commerce.

Bandon waterfront dispute resolved

The Port of Bandon and Portland-based Pacific Seafood Group have come to an agreement after a long-running dispute involving 1.3 acres of waterfront property.

The agency signed a 100-year lease with the nation's largest seafood company in 1976, and will now pay $340,000 to get out of the lease.

At the time, port commissioners said, the deal was a jobs incentive, because Pacific Seafood was processing fish at the facility, and employing dozens of workers. But in recent years, operations at the facility have been scaled back to include only a retail market on the 1.3-acre property, a venture that doesn’t employ enough people to warrant the cheap rent, port officials said.

After complaining that the company was ignoring its requests to renegotiate the lease, the port declared it null and void at the beginning of 2008. Then, after 10 months of negotiating, port commissioners voted unanimously in December to kick the company off the property.

Read the full story at The Register-Guard.

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