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Portland and U.S. home prices continue their decline

April 30, 2009 --

By Dr. Eric Fruits, EconInternational


The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indexes measure the residential housing market, tracking changes in the value of the residential real estate market in 20 metropolitan regions across the United States. The most recent data covers home sales through February 2009.  In Portland, prices are down 14 percent from last year.  Portland home values are down 19 percent from their peak in July 2007.  Read more: “Portland and U.S. home prices continue their decline

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Oregon restaurants face new labeling and wage laws

April 29, 2009 --

By Alyssa Williams, BIZ Reporter

Oregon Restaurant Association (ORA) Director of Government Relations Bill Perry is looking out for our waists and wallets as he works on implementing legislation for restaurant menu labeling and questions minimum wage increases in the poor economy.

As of March 12, 2009, legislation requires chains in Multnomah County with 15 or more locations nationwide to display calories counts for food, drinks and condiments that are not provided free next to the item name on menus, menu boards, drive-through order boards and food tags at buffets and self-service stations. This will affect over 500 restaurants in the county.  “It is better for a consumer and a business to have a uniformed standard,” said Perry.

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AOI opposes big corporate tax increase plans

April 28, 2009 --

John Marshall
Associated Oregon Industries
Oregon’s Largests Business Lobby

Raising taxes on Oregon businesses in an economic recession and during a period of record unemployment makes no sense, was the message conveyed this week to the House Revenue Committee by AOI and other business community representatives.  The committee held a public hearing on four bills (HB 2119, HB 2913, HB 3049 and HB 3405) that increase the current $10 corporate minimum tax.  The proposals raise between $21 million and $120 million per year.  No action was taken on the bills, but behind-closed-door discussions are apparently being held to determine the structure and revenue impact of a corporate minimum tax increase measure.

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Business Challenges After the Recession

April 27, 2009 --

By Bill Conerly, Businomics, Conerly Consulting

When the recession is over, business challenges will be different, not gone.  Companies wrestling with the downturn need to consider what new problems they’ll face in the recovery.

You may have cut back on your staffing level to survive the recession.  When sales recover, you’ll start hiring—but whom?  Many of the folks you laid off will not be available.  Some of the people you hire may not have worked in your industry before.  You will have a training challenge greater than you had before the recession.

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Top 25 most innovative companies

April 26, 2009 --

Businessweek’s Top 25 Most Innovative Companies 2009

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Oregonian Launches Mobile Store Featuring Historic Wallpapers

April 25, 2009 --

Skycore LLC, developers of the leading mobile messaging and content platform, Cellyspace.com, and Oregonian Publishing Co. today announced the debut of the Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper’s storefront featuring historic pages available as mobile wallpapers. The joint effort makes The Oregonian one of the first newspapers in the country to take advantage of the ground-breaking mobile technology.

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Senator Larry George: Sees conflict of interest on Energy Trust

April 24, 2009 --

Potential conflicts of interests plague Energy Trust of Oregon board and council members
By State Senator Larry George,

Salem, OR – According to public records, at least thirteen Energy Trust of Oregon board and council members work for companies and organizations that receive incentive and consultant payments from the trust. The Energy Trust of Oregon is also exempt from ethics and reporting requirements required of other public officials. Every two years the board and employees of the Energy Trust of Oregon are responsible for spending a fund that has exploded in size by 480% to over $150 million of public money.

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OR-WA: Minimum Wage Indexing Impact

Seven ways restaurants are luring customers in tough times

April 22, 2009 --

By Traci Scott, BIZ Reporter

According to a recent Nielsen consumer survey, 66 percent of fine dining patrons admit they are going out less often compared to a year ago. This trend was echoed by 65 percent of nightclub patrons, 55 percent of bar patrons, 59 percent of casino and resort patrons and 52 percent of casual dining visitors.  A report from Fitch Ratings suggests things aren’t likely to improve anytime soon.  Although gas prices are declining and the government stimulus package is in effect, these conditions are being canceled out by rising unemployment and downward pressure on the housing and stock markets.

To counter lagging business, U.S. restaurants and bars are turning to innovative and desperate measures to lure in diners and retain their customers, including the following:

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Health Care Mandates are Adding Up

April 21, 2009 --

Betsy Earls
Associated Oregon Industries
Oregon largest business lobby

Health insurance mandates are thick on the ground this session, although not all of them have had hearings.  Those that have had hearings will have to move out of committee in the next few weeks; others may turn into study groups or task forces which make recommendations next session.

SB 316—Routine costs of care while participating in clinical trials:
SB 316 requires health insurance carriers to cover the costs of routine care for patients enrolled in clinical trials.  The bill does not require that insurance companies pay costs related to the clinical trial—only those costs that would be incurred and covered if the patient was not enrolled in the trial.  AOI met with health insurance carriers, OHSU and Senators Alan Bates and Richard Devlin in early February in an effort to reach agreement on specific language in the bill.  The meeting was a complete success, but due to drafting problems, correct amendments did not emerge until recently.  SB 316 had a work session last week, and passage is expected.

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