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Starbucks CEO announces more layoffs, big transition

July 30, 2008 --

Howard Schultz, Starbucks Release:  I want to acknowledge from the outset some of the difficulty that many of you may be experiencing given the tough operating environment we are facing.  But let me assure you that there has been a relentless focus on making the decisions necessary to put us all in a position to win.  Unfortunately, some of the decisions will result in not only store closures, which we announced earlier this month, but a restructuring of our organization that will eliminate some positions.  Although I, along with the leadership team, made the hard choices to close stores and reduce the number of positions, which will result in loss of jobs, ultimately, I feel that they rest with me.  I fully understand the seriousness of these actions and the concerns you may have, but please be assured that we will treat all departing and remaining partners with respect and dignity.

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Portland Auditor questions housing tax breaks oversight

July 29, 2008 --

Below is the summary from teh Portland City Auditor’s Report “HOUSING TAX ABATEMENTS: Oversight inadequate to ensure program goals
The City’s current tax abatement programs have evolving goals, incomplete reporting and monitoring, and poor verification of either the overall social goals or the specific project benefits that the pro¬grams were designed to provide. The City of Portland exempts some condominium, house, and apartment owners from paying property taxes as an incentive for providing certain public benefits. In this audit, we reviewed three of the City’s tax abatement programs: (1) New Multi-Unit Housing, (2) Transit Oriented Development, and (3) Single Family New Construc¬tion. These programs exempt the value of new housing construction from property taxes, in exchange for providing public benefits such as building new housing in distressed neighborhoods, or providing transit-friendly development.

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Integra Telecom Issues Statement Supporting FCC Ruling to Deny Qwest Petition for Forbearance

July 28, 2008 --

PORTLAND, Ore.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Integra Telecom Inc., a facilities-based, integrated communications carrier for business, released the following statement regarding the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) decision to deny Qwest Corporation’s petition for forbearance: “Integra Telecom applauds the FCC’s decision to deny Qwest Corporation’s petition for forbearance,” said Dudley Slater, CEO of Integra Telecom Inc. “The commission rightly concluded that the incumbent’s petition was unwarranted, unproven, and would harm consumers and the competitive marketplace.”

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Oregon’s spending: 11th highest in the nation

July 24, 2008 --

By Dr. Eric Fruits, Econinternational

Eric Fruits was invited by Oregon’s Revenue Restructuring Task Force to compare Oregon’s state and local government expenditures with other states. In his presentation, Dr. Fruits reported that:

Oregon’s per capita state and local expenditures almost doubled between the 1998-99 fiscal year and the 2004-05 fiscal year.  The most recent data from the Census shows expenditures of $8,060 per person.

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SBA: Oregon Small Business Owner of the Year Award

July 23, 2008 --

From Oregon Small Business Administration,

Small Business Person of the Year Susan Webb, President, Glass Alchemy, Ltd. The Premier Manufacturer of Borosilicate Art Glass. Small Business Administration Oregon District Director, Harry DeWolf, announces that Susan Webb, President of Glass Alchemy, Ltd., is the SBA 2008 Small Business Person of the Year for the state of Oregon. Awards will also be given to a family-owned business, to small business Champions, and an excellence and innovation award will be given to a small business development center. “For more than 40 years, SBA has recognized outstanding small business owners for their contributions to Oregon’s economy and for their personal achievements during small business week. I am proud to honor our top Oregon entrepreneurs and our true champions of small business whose tireless efforts have provided tangible and significant support to small businesses and their communities,” said SBA District Director, Harry DeWolf.

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Success in the fight against junk email

July 22, 2008 --

By Eye on Business, Portland

A New York man was sentenced to more than two years in prison for sending out over 1.2 million spam emails.  Adam Vitale was also fined $180,000.  This judgment is a relief for business in more ways than the obvious reduction of junk emails.  Advanced blocking programs have successfully reduced junk emails but have created a new problem of legitimate emails being labeled as spam when they are not.  This creates an entirely new problem.  It has been stated that dealing with spam and misplaced emails contributes to millions of worker hours lost every year.  I was humored when Bill gates said last year that he is just like the rest of us in that he spends hours every year getting rid of junk emails.

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Downtown Portland Continues to Add Businesses, Jobs

July 21, 2008 --

From Portland Business Alliance,

Portland, Ore. – Downtown Portland continues to add businesses and jobs according to the seventh annual Downtown Business Census and Survey conducted by the Portland Business Alliance on behalf of Portland Downtown Services, Inc. (PDSI). Thirty-six more businesses opened their doors in 2007 for a total of 4,198 businesses and 1,434 more employees are now working downtown, according to survey results.

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Natural gas pipelines do not affect residential property values

July 17, 2008 --

From Dr. Eric Fruits,

EconInternational

A recent LNG terminal building boom has, in turn, produced a natural gas pipeline building boom.  Terminals bring in shipments of liquefied natural gas (LNG).  Through a regasification process, the LNG is changed back into gaseous natural gas.  Pipelines transmit the natural gas (in gas, not liquid, form) from terminals to end users and to other pipelines.

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Middle Class in Emerging Countries: How to Win the Market

July 16, 2008 --

From Economist Dr. Bill Conerly, Conerly Consulting, Businomics.

Knowledge @ Wharton has an interesting article about the growing middle class in emerging countries.  If you sell overseas, or you could sell overseas, make sure you’re up to date on the trend, described in the early part of the article.

There will certainly be challenges in this market.  One point mentioned is price. The new middle class in China and India have less income than the middle class in the Western world.  So they will make discretionary purchases, they will learn to favor certain brands, but their lower incomes will make them more price sensitive than Western consumers are.

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Washington Poll: Presidential and governor picks

July 15, 2008 --

Moore Insight, Moore Information

 General election match ups in Washington State reveal Barack Obama leading John McCain by 10 points in the presidential race, while the gubernatorial race is a statistical dead heat today. The following charts show results for both of these races.

 

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