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March 15, 2010

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The gubernatorial race is officially under way and a Eugene gravel company is turning a more environmentally friendly leaf. But things are looking less sweet for the wine industry, while The Oregonian digs into the results of the Legislature's "Go Oregon" stimulus package.

The truth about Oregon jobs

State officials proudly state that 7,500 jobs were created or retained by the 2009 Legislature's "Go Oregon" package.

Yet an analysis by The Oregonian attempts to find out how the state package (of which $93 million has been spent so far) could have outperformed the larger federal program (which has seen $1.3 billion spent).

An analysis by The Oregonian shows that, on average, Go Oregon jobs lasted about two weeks and did little or nothing to dent the state's bleak employment outlook. It also shows the state counted anyone working on a stimulus-related project as a job, regardless of whether the worker was already employed and in no danger of being laid off.

Furthermore, one in four workers employed in Go Oregon jobs was not a resident of the state. The analysis also shows a disproportionately high amount of the stimulus money was spent in Marion and Polk counties -- two areas of the state favored by Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, who championed the measure.

Read the full story at OregonLive.com.

Gravel firm turns new leaf

Eugene-based Egge Sand & Gravel is working to become more environmentally friendly.

The gravel company was notorious for butting heads with the Department of Environmental Quality in the past.

In recent years, Egge faced federal, state and local regulator ire for pumping muddy water into the McKenzie, sending swirls of dust into the air, digging a pit in farmland against express orders — and making a forbidden embankment of concrete rubble along the edge of the river...

[But] After a minor spill in November, for example, an Egge official immediately notified regulators, admitted the action was wrong, said he was embarrassed — and took, in the regulators’ view, “extraordinary efforts to ensure the violation would not be repeated,” DEQ documents show.

Read the full story at The Register-Guard.

Bend company works on nano level

The Bend office of Nanometrics Inc. creates machinery and systems for companies that make semiconductors, LED displays and other atomic-level products.

Among the company's semiconductors clients are Intel Corp., Samsung Electronics and Micron Technology.

In 2006, Nanometrics acquired Bend-based Accent Optical, which also provided equipment used for quality control in high-tech manufacturing plants.

Bruce Rhine, the former chairman and CEO of Accent and current Nanometrics board chairman, said in 2006 the two companies would complement one another, according to a news release announcing the acquisition. While both companies provided quality-control products, they only had a few overlapping customers, according to company statements.

Read the full story at The Bulletin.

Wine glut possible

Oregon's wine industry is raising concerns about oversupply, as the state continues to expand grape production while wine sales drop.

Oregon wine sales were down 5% in volume in 2009 from the year before. Oregon wines tend to be more expensive, which make them less attractive to distributors.

'Not only are we producing more grapes, but more acres are coming online," said Ted Farthing, executive director of the Oregon Wine Board. 'We need to do a lot more work on the demand side."

Farthing and other wine experts recently gathered in Eugene to discuss the industry's outlook at an annual symposium.

Read the full story at The World Link.

Governor race under way

With the filing deadline passed last week, the race for governor is officially underway.

Among the most prominent candidates racing for the May primary are Democrats John Kitzhaber and Bill Bradbury, and Republicans Chris Dudley, Allen Alley, Bill Sizemore and John Lim.

With Democrat Ted Kulongoski ineligible for a third consecutive term, the field appears to be wide open with three Democrats and nine Republicans vying to be Oregon's 37th chief executive...

Results of most early public opinion surveys peg either Kitzhaber or Bradbury ahead of the Republicans, though not overwhelmingly — except for Sizemore, who trails both by big margins.

Read the full story at the Statesman Journal.

 
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