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Portland has nation’s 5th highest water-sewer rates

January 31, 2012 --

Report: Portland has 5th highest water and sewer rates in the U.S.
by Eric Fruits, Oregon economist
Econ International Blog
A recent study from Nus Consulting Group revealed that the average business district/commercial water user saw rates rise 5.5 percent in 2011 when compared to 2010.

However, in several cities, water and sewer rate increases were considerably higher. For instance, Portland had one of the biggest increases at 9 percent.

The study also identified those cities with the most expensive and the least costly water and sewer rates.

Read the full article and discuss it »

Latest Economic Data: Are we in a recovery or not?

January 30, 2012 --

by Patrick Emerson
Oregon Economics Blog

Yet another sign today that the US may be on the road to recovery: the US grew at an annualized rate of 2.8% last quarter. This is good news considering where we have been these last few years, but not good enough to may anyone feel good about the staying power of such a trend. And the trend itself isn’t good enough: at a 2.8% rate we’ll be lucky to keep up with jab market growth – so we won’t be making any real progress on unemployment. But if this presages a more robust recovery, and if Europe doesn’t slide into serious recession and drag us down with it, then it is good news.

Read the full article and discuss it »

Bill Gates Speaks on State of the Union, Buffett Rule, Taxes on Rich

January 29, 2012 --

Bill Gates Speaks on State of the Union, Buffet Rule, Taxes on Rich

Video of the week: CNN interviews Microsoft founder, Bill Gates, on the tax debate coming right out of President Obama’s State of the Union. See Bill Gates interview below.

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The role of Capitalism in the world economic meltdown

January 28, 2012 --

Europe, America and the Crisis of Capitalism
by Albert Gallatin
Guest Opinion,

Since the financial crisis of 2008 western economies have been in a continual state of crisis. In Europe one sovereign nation after another has faced the prospect of significantly reducing government spending or defaulting on its debt. So deep is this problem that now formerly solid economies such as that of France stare into the abyss of an intractable problem of weak economic growth and unmanageable debt.

In the United States as well there continues to be the hangover from our long national cheap credit binge. America’s largest financial institutions, many of which are insolvent if their assets were marked-to-market, continue to play a disproportionately large role in the economy and the thinking of government policymakers. While the real economy continues to slowly grow it remains ever subject to the threat of being strangled by insurmountable government debt.

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How Google is selling their new controversial privacy change

January 27, 2012 --

Google has made a bold step in changing their privacy policy which includes using more of the information it gets from its users. Congress is already complaining.. Below is the video Google is using to promote its new controversial privacy policy and it strikes gold for creativity over a dangerous and complex subject.

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Mandatory Union Notices Delayed

January 26, 2012 --

Oregon Employers: Mandatory Union Notices Delayed Again Until April 30
By J.L. Wilson
Associated Oregon Industries
Oregon’s Largest Business Advocate

Late last year, AOI advised its members that they needed to comply with new National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) rules – slated to go into effect on January 31 – that requires nearly all employers in Oregon to post a notice of an employee’s right to unionize. The posting also lists a number of unlawful employer actions as well as contact information for the NLRB.

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Top 20 Oregon business complaints

January 25, 2012 --

Better Business Bureau,

In 2011, Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington provided 2,975,099 BBB Business Reviews on local companies

Top 20 Complaints
1. Cellular Telephone Service & Supplies
2. Internet Selling Services
3. Internet Access Provider
4. Computers Software & Services
5. Travel Agencies & Bureaus
6. Computer Software Publishers & Developers
7.  Auto Dealers – New Cars
8. Collection Agencies
9. Auto Dealers – Used Cars
10. Property Management

Read the full article and discuss it »

Court rejects nationwide class action for false advertising

January 24, 2012 --

Ninth Circuit rejects nationwide class action for false advertising from
by Lori Bauman
Ater-Wynne:, Oregon Law Firm

The Ninth Circuit continues to grapple with the standards for certifying class actions following the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Wal-Mart v. Dukes, 131 S. Ct. 2541 (2011). Last week, a divided panel of the Ninth Circuit refused to certify a nationwide class action on behalf of individuals who bought or leased Acura RL automobiles equipped with a Collision Mitigation Braking System.

In Mazza v. American Honda Motor Company, Inc., plaintiffs claimed that Honda misrepresented and concealed material information about the braking system in the marketing and sale of Acura RL vehicles. Plaintiffs made claims under California’s unfair competition and false advertising laws. While the District Court found common issues of law and fact sufficient to certify a nationwide class, the Ninth Circuit reversed. Judge Ronald M. Gould, writing for the majority, focused on the admonition in Wal-Mart that commonality means that an issue central to each class member’s claim is subject to resolution “in one stroke.”

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Chart: Roads losing to bike paths & streetcars

January 23, 2012 --

In Portland, road maintenance takes a backseat to bikes and streetcars
By Dr. Eric Fruits
Econ International Blog

Following up on a previous article, the figure below shows that as Portland’s road paving backlog has grown, the city has expanded bikeways and streetcar lines.

Read the full article and discuss it »

Chamber responds to Online Privacy Act controversy

January 22, 2012 --

U.S. Chamber Pledges to Continue to Find Effective Solution to Foreign Rogue Websites
The Right Solution is Good for Jobs, Consumers, and the Internet
BY U.S. Chamber of Commerce

WASHINGTON D.C.—David Hirschmann, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center, released the following statement in response to the postponement of the consideration of S. 968 (the PROTECT IP Act) and H.R. 3261 (the Stop Online Piracy Act):

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