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Points of the Day

April 13, 2010

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Intel leads patent race

Intel researcher Robert Chau received his 200th patent this year — the highest of any Intel employee — and has 67 more on the way.

Oregon inventors earn more than 2,000 patents a year, and researchers such as Chau have helped push Intel to the top of the list, over Hewlett-Packard and other technology innovators.

But the same recession that has sapped Oregon's high-tech employment is evidently taking a toll on its research: Patent applications fell 13% last year, and are down 26% from 2006.

Even so, only seven states receive more patents than Oregon does on a per capita basis.

Read the full story at OregonLive.com.

State targets tax evaders

The state has found 66,000 Oregonians who did not pay their state income taxes in 2007 and owe $109 million collectively for that year alone.

Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown wants to crack down on nonfilers by comparing records with the Internal Revenue Service and using more private collection firms, among other tactics.

Collecting unpaid taxes is particularly important, Brown said, “in an era where the state faces critical revenue shortfalls.”...

Based on past collection rates for unpaid taxes, the state could expect to collect about $54 million of the total within five years, according to the audits division, which is part of the Secretary of State’s Office.

Read the full story at The Register-Guard.

Health-reform impact unsure

Rising medical insurance costs have been a problem for many small-business owners in Oregon, and the impact of the recent health reform is still unknown.

Finding affordable health-care options has been a challenge for small businesses, and has only gotten more complicated over the years. Health reform will add to the complexity.

"Agents are spending a lot of time these days educating the employers about the state mandates and now we are moving to the federal mandates," says benefits manager Julie Doran of Keelson Partners in downtown Portland...

Many of her clients, especially businesses with less than 50 employees, are frustrated by years of rising premium costs and galloping medical care expenses and the fact they can do little to control either.

Read the full story at OregonLive.com.

More building for UO sports

The University of Oregon announced plans to build new football offices close to Autzen Stadium and is currently in discussions with Nike co-founder Phil Knight about financing the project.

UO already has several new building projects under construction or already completed with financing from Knight, including a learning center and new baseball and basketball venues.

The building, to be erected next to or near the Casanova Center and Autzen Stadium, would be constructed under the same mechanism by which Knight financed the athletic treatment center in the Cas Center and the John E. Jaqua Academic Center for Student Athletes.

In both cases, Oregon temporarily leased the space to a Knight corporation, which built the structures and then donated them as gifts to the university. That mechanism gave Knight, through his trusted operative, Howard Slusher, control over the high-end projects — and enabled the university to profess no knowledge about the actual costs.

Read the full story at The Register-Guard.

New Kaiser center under way

Work has begun on Kaiser Permanente's new Westside Medical Center in Hillsboro, a project that will cost $360 million, including $220 million for construction.

The center is being outfitted to withstand both seismic activity and the wet Pacific Northwest weather, the latter of which presents a challenge for the California-based company.

For skin systems, the California model doesn’t work for the Pacific Northwest. “They’re basically big stucco jobs, which is a bad idea for Portland,” [said Travis Baker, project director for general contractor Andersen Construction].

The Westside Medical Center will have a locally appropriate rain-screen system featuring brick and metal panels.

Read the full story at the Daily Journal of Commerce.

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