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Points of the Day

April 15, 2010

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Air Force stalls wind farm

The Air Force is holding up work on the Shepherds Flat wind-energy project, raising concerns that the project's turbines will interfere with radar transmissions.

The wind farm would be the largest in the country and is set to break ground in May, bringing over 700 construction jobs and millions in royalty payments to rural Oregon.

But the Federal Aviation Administration, with backing from the Air Force, issued a "notice of presumed hazard" in March, barring construction of any towers above "0 feet." The company hasn't been able to resolve the issue, even with Oregon Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley trying to run interference.

"We're just sitting here in no man's land," said Les Gelber, a Caithness Energy partner.

Read the full story at OregonLive.com.

Jobs are top priority in Metro race

Polls show that voter recognition for the three candidates running for Metro president is low, leaving the race largely up for grabs.

To appeal to voters, the candidates — Rex Burkholder, Tom Hughes and Bob Stacey — are emphasizing job creation in their campaigns.

Because all their polls show the economy is the No. 1 issue, this makes good campaign sense. But up until now, no one has thought much about Metro being an economic development agency.

“Livability begins with a good job,” says Stacey, illustrating a fundamental rule of campaigning – talk about what the voters are interested in.

Read the full story at the Portland Tribune.

FedEx brings jobs to Troutdale

When FedEx Ground's new $100 million distribution center opens in Troutdale in August, it will employ over 700 workers, with hopes of reaching 1,000 in the future.

Local officials hope the new center will also spur development at the Port of Portland's industrial park near the mouth of the Sandy River.

"Fedex is an engine for economic investment, not just for Troutdale, but all of East Multnomah County," said Jim Kight, mayor of Troutdale. "Hopefully, it'll spur other businesses."

For FedEx itself, the recession slammed revenues, which fell by double digits with the general slowdown in commerce.

Read the full story at OregonLive.com.

Slow traction for Enertia

Brammo hoped to have its Enertia electric motorcycle in 50 Best Buy stores nationwide by now, but the road to a major rollout has been a slow one.

After launching a "pilot production" for the Enertia last year and slashing its retail price from $11,995 to $7,995, the bike is currently being stocked in just six Best Buy stores.

"We're behind where I thought we'd be," said [founder Craig Bramscher], who hoped to see 50 stores carrying Enertias by now. "In a perfect world, I would have loved to have had more stores by spring, but we completely understand why."

Selling electric-powered vehicles in a store rather than at a stand-alone dealership sometimes leaves local government officials scratching their heads.

Read the full story at the Mail Tribune.

Coast could get tsunami tower

In the wake of catastrophic earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, Cannon Beach is considering building an evacuation tower to help residents escape the tsunamis triggered by quakes.

The $4 million tower would be the first of its kind for a U.S. community and would hold at least 1,000 people.

“It’s going to be distinctive,” said Jay Raskin, a former mayor and an architect who is leading the effort to get the tower built. “So people will know what it’s for.”

California is often perceived as the epicenter for earthquakes in the United States. Yet new scientific studies show that the Pacific Northwest — Oregon, Washington and parts of Northern California, British Columbia and Alaska — is at a greater risk of experiencing a catastrophic “great earthquake,” a giant rupture in the Cascadia Subduction Zone that could set the region shaking for as long as five minutes, from the sea to Seattle.

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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