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May 4, 2010

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Oregon utilities among the greenest

Portland General Electric and PacifiCorp ranked high in a national survey of green-power programs by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Nearly 73,000 of PGE's eligible customers voluntarily participate in the utility's green-power programs, the highest absolute number of customers among utilities offering green programs around the country.

In reality, every one of PGE's and Pacific Power's customers gets a portion of their electricity from renewable sources such as wind, geothermal, solar and biomass.

Both utilities are investing heavily in green power to meet Oregon's renewable portfolio standard, which requires that utilities in the state meet 25 percent of retail demand with renewable resources by 2025.

Read the full story at OregonLive.com.

Kitzhaber proposes tax break

Gubernatorial candidate John Kitzhaber says deferring taxes levied on capital gains could help create jobs.

The former governor's idea echoes similar plans by Republican candidates Allen Alley and Chris Dudley, who also propose cutting capital gains taxes.

None of the proposals have been entirely fleshed out with proposed rates and estimates of the impact on the state treasury and the number of jobs the tax cuts would create. The candidates will be challenged to pencil out a tax cut when Oregon confronts a budget situation in 2011 that Gov. Ted Kulongoski describes as headed over a cliff.

Kitzhaber’s Democratic primary opponent, Bill Bradbury, has proposed a state-owned bank to funnel capital to Oregon businesses and on Monday derided cutting capital gains.

Read the full story at The Register-Guard.

Rose Quarter project gets tangled

Three finalists remain in the proposal process for redeveloping Portland's Rose Quarter and Memorial Coliseum.

But some say Paul Allen's Portland Arena Management has an unfair advantage and raise questions about the effectiveness of the city's public-design processes.

"This began as a communitywide effort to save the Memorial Coliseum from the wrecking ball," says City Commissioner Nick Fish. "I celebrate that, as we now debate how much public investment we want to make into that building and area. But I fear we've structured this process to ensure an unsatisfactory outcome."

"I do think that the dynamics surrounding the Rose Garden creates the perception that things are in their (the Blazers) favor," says City Commissioner Randy Leonard, who originally wanted to replace the coliseum with a baseball stadium. "But we should have known all of that going into this."

Read the full story at OregonLive.com.

Portland market takes different path

Developers for the proposed James Beard Public Market in Portland are taking a unique route.

While most of the nation's major public markets are located in historic buildings, developers in Portland are planning to build a new structure after efforts to lease space failed.

[Kelly Willams, assistant planner with the New York-based Project for Public Spaces], noted that of the 100 indoor public market halls in the United States, she is not aware of a single one that had a building constructed for it.

“When people come to us they usually have an existing space already in mind,” she said. “The reason is that people tend to use markets as a way to revitalize an area, not develop a new one...

Read the full story at the Daily Journal of Commerce.

Show over for Hollywood Video

Movie Gallery announced it will close all 35 of its Hollywood Video stores in Oregon and phase out its corporate headquarters in Wilsonville. The Oregon closures are part of the nationwide shutdown of the company's nearly 2,500 outlets.

The company had previously planned to close only half of its stores when it filed for bankruptcy in February.

Hollywood Entertainment, founded by Mark Wattles, grew from its Oregon base to become one of the titans of the video rental business along with Blockbuster Inc. By 1999, the company's torrid store-a-day expansion had pushed annual revenue past the $1 billion mark, a remarkable achievement for a company that in 1993 reported sales of just $17 million.

But swift technological change and an ill-fated acquisition by Movie Gallery combined to kill the company. Hollywood began negotiating a merger with Movie Gallery in large part to fend off a takeover attempt by Blockbuster.

Read the full story at OregonLive.com.

 
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