Willamette Valley
Workers rally for job bills
High Five
Thursday, February 11, 2010

Almost 400 workers turn out for a rally to push the Legislature to pass job bills.

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Jobs Watch: Indie Hops grows investment
Ben Jacklet
Wednesday, February 10, 2010

This just in from Oregon’s ever-growing beer biz: Portland-based startup Indie Hops will donate $1 million to Oregon State University to launch a new breeding program for aroma hops grown in the Willamette Valley. Add that donation to a second million-dollar Indie Hops investment to develop the first hop pellet mill in the Valley along with cold storage and distribution facilities, and you’ve got a new company that could give craft brewers the stability — and respect — that they deserve.

It is fitting that the only U.S. hop merchant dedicated entirely to aroma hops for craft breweries is based in Oregon. Oregonians have been growing first-rate hops and brewing excellent beer since statehood, but for reasons involving the corporate dominance of the Anheuser-Busch InBevs of the world, hops and beer have remained surprisingly disconnected here. Hops are grown in the Valley but processed in Yakima, Wash., where they are sold as commodities, with unpredictable and occasionally maddening price swings. The 18-month-old Indie Hops aims to improve on that inefficient system by purchasing quality hops from Valley farmers, processing them into pellets at a newly completed mill between Hubbard and Mount Angel, and selling them to brewers all over the West Coast. The mill will employ just a few people to start, but if the new local supply catches on there is huge potential for growth.

Indie Hops’ co-founders are Roger Worthington and Jim Solberg, high school football buddies from Corvallis who decided to take the start-up plunge over the course of an evening sampling the wares at the Hopworks Urban Brewery in Portland. Worthington was a successful asbestos litigation attorney who was looking for a worthwhile and fun investment. Solberg was a 16-year Nike veteran who quit his job to sail the Pacific Coast in a craft he built himself and help out with a variety of start-ups including Nutcase Helmets and Hammersurf.

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Legislators to balance budget
High Five
Monday, February 08, 2010

In this second of week of the special session, legislators look at how to trim spending.

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Healthier year for medical biz
High Five
Monday, February 08, 2010

The health industry may be the first to see an economic recovery this year.

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Senate overrides governor vetoes
High Five
Friday, February 05, 2010

The Senate votes to overturn Gov. Kulongoski's vetoes on fisheries and PERS bills.

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