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Gates gives UofO $100K for condom research

November 26, 2014 --

bill-gatesGates Foundation Awards UofO $100,000 for Condom Research
By Oregon Tax News,

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded 11 recipients, including the University of Oregon, $100,000 to research improvements or alternatives to latex condoms. The recipient that puts forth the most promising research could be awarded up to another $1 million to develop their new model for one of history’s oldest forms of birth control.

Eugene-based KEZI recently reported the University of Oregon’s interesting research project. The Men’s Journal also highlighted the quest of the Gates Foundation and other players to build a better condom, thereby helping increase use among men. According to the Men’s Journal, male prophylactics have remained largely unchanged for nearly 100 years, and use could be improved with engineering advancements that enhance comfort and fit.

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Oregon hints at weaker job report

November 25, 2014 --

chart-duy-nov14University of Oregon Regional Economic Indexes
By Tim Duy
Oregon Economic Forum
University of  Oregon

Oregon Economic Indicators:

The Oregon Measure of Economic Activity fell in September while the University of Oregon Index of Economic Indicators rose. Highlights of the report include:

– The Oregon Measure of Economic Activity fell in September while the three-month moving average, which smooths month-to-month volatility in the measure, rose to 0.06 on the back of a substantial upward revision to the August data.
– Weaker employment data in comparison with earlier this year continues to weigh on the measure, although it is important to recognize that employment data can be volatile and subject to large revisions. For example, the “other services employment” component made a significant negative contribution that represents a reversal from exceptionally strong growth earlier this year. Final revisions may smooth this volatility.

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Portland flubs national Foodie list

November 24, 2014 --

portlandPortland fails to shine in national foodie survey
By Oregon Small Business Association,

Of the 150 most populous US cities in their foodie survey, Wallet Hub scored Portland #61. That is 14 points above the median, but still somewhat disappointing to many Portland foodies. The main reason for the lower rating was the high cost of food.

Wallet Hub conducted the survey in celebration of World Food Day on October 16. They were looking for the cities where food was the most economical, diverse, accessible, and high-quality. The five cities that ranked the highest were Orlando, FL (#1); Grand Rapids, MI; Madison, WI; Boise City, ID; and Cincinnati, OH. The city that ranked the lowest was Henderson, NV.

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Economic reality chart busts 7 years of predictions

November 21, 2014 --

America’s Economic Malaise in One Chart
By Michael Hendrix,
U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation

America’s economic growth continues to underwhelm expectations. To illustrate this dismal reality, the noted economist Larry Summers created a chart showing the gradual decline in economic growth forecasts by the Congressional Budget Office for each of the seven years affected by the Great Recession. Every year brings a lowering of expectations, and every time our actual GDP fails to meet even this low bar.

Summers’ chart should show us how awful we are at predicting the future. End of story. Our actual ability to anticipate and respond to the ups and downs of the economy is far less than we may think.

But more than that, we should recognize that each year in which America’s potential output is lowered to meet actual output is another year in which we further lose our ability to grow the economy.

The question that Summers ponders is the degree to which officials and policymakers are out of ammunition to fire up the economy before stagnation permanently wipes out a share of America’s output capacity. He hints at short-term solutions, but it’s hard not to see this chart as a call for long-term structural reforms as well.

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Portland Whole Foods starts home delivery

November 20, 2014 --

groceryWhole Foods to Add In-Store Delivery Option for Portland Customers
By Oregon Small Business Association

Busy, health-conscious Portlanders who need groceries but lack the time to shop will soon be able to have organic groceries delivered to their door in as little as an hour. Perhaps even more convenient, they will be able to order ahead for pickup at a nearby, conveniently located store.

In-store and home-delivery for local residents will be made possible through Whole Foods’ partnership with Instacart, a grocery delivery service that employs personal shoppers to fill and deliver orders. The two companies recently announced their plans to unveil an automated delivery option in all of Whole Foods’ 15 markets across the United States—including Portland.

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Who’s hiring? – 6 firms bring 1000 jobs

November 19, 2014 --

osba-logoLarge Companies Plan to Add 1000+ Jobs in Portland
By Oregon Small Business Association

Several large corporations are entering the Portland market or expanding their local operations over the next several months, giving a boost to Portland’s economy. Though the exact number of jobs to be added is still being determined in some cases, Portland could see upwards of a thousand or more new jobs added to its economy from Aruba Networks, ShopKeep, eBay, Under Armour, CarMax, Fred Meyer and Cabela’s.

• In a sign Portland’s tech sector is gaining strength, ShopKeep recently moved into its downtown 6th Street location. Based in New York City, ShopKeep produces an iPad-based point-of-sale system for merchants. It previously operated out of a temporary office near the Lloyd District with 15 employees. Its new permanent location can accommodate as many as 100 employees, reports the Portland Business Journal. ShopKeep plans to grow its West Coast business and selected Portland as a primary outpost for related expansion.

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CA law requires supervisor training on bullying

November 18, 2014 --

Ater Wynne LLP
NW Law frim

California recently became the second state to pass a law acknowledging the problem of workplace bullying. The first state to do so was Tennessee.

Effective January 1, 2015, California’s existing law mandating sexual harassment training for supervisors must include training on the prevention of abusive conduct. For the purpose of the new California law, “abusive conduct” means

 

conduct of an employer or employee in the workplace, with malice, that a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive, and unrelated to an employer’s legitimate business interests. Abusive conduct may include repeated infliction of verbal abuse, such as the use of derogatory remarks, insults, and epithets, verbal or physical conduct that a reasonable person would find threatening, intimidating, or humiliating, or the gratuitous sabotage or undermining of a person’s work performance. A single act shall not constitute abusive conduct, unless especially severe and egregious.

 

Tennessee’s law, passed earlier this year, requires the Tennessee advisory commission on intergovernmental relations (TACIR) to create by March 15, 2015, a model policy for employers to prevent abusive conduct in the workplace. Employers who adopt the TACIR or an equivalent policy are immune from suit for any employee’s abusive conduct that results in negligent or intentional infliction of mental anguish.

Since 2003, 26 states have introduced some version of the Healthy Workplace Bill (HWB), the anti-bullying legislation being promoted by social psychologist Gary Namie and his wife, who was a victim of workplace bullying and, thereafter, suffered from depression. To date, no states have enacted the HWB. However, recognizing the serious harmful effects of bullying, many schools have already implemented anti-bullying policies. It may just be a matter of time before anti-bullying legislation extends to the workplace.

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How Ore. colleges rank on graduate salaries

November 17, 2014 --

college-grads-studentsRecent OHSU Grads Rank in Top 10 Nationally for Pay
By Oregon Tax News,

Recent graduates with a four-year degree from Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) are among the highest paid in the country. The average OHSU graduate out of school within the last five years makes nearly $66,800.That’s strong enough to put OHSU in the top 10 of all schools nationally in terms of “early career median pay,” according the Portland Business Journal’s coverage of a survey released this summer by Payscale. A total of 12 Oregon schools were highlighted in the survey.

Western Oregon University graduates on average will make the lowest salary of all schools listed in their first five years post graduation. A degree from Oregon State (ranked fourth in Oregon) is worth nearly $4,000 more than a degree from the University of Oregon (ranked eighth in Oregon)—$46,000 compared to $42,900.
Below the schools are listed in order from highest to least median pay:

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Privacy concerns thwart employee fitness programs

November 14, 2014 --

National-chamber-foundation
U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation

Joe Kennedy

Employee wellness programs would be more effective if companies had wider access to data on workers’ health, and employees say they would share more information if the programs meet their fitness needs, according to a survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

According to the survey, sponsored by Humana, some companies believe that employees don’t participate in wellness plans due to privacy concerns. But, in fact, workers say they are far more concerned about a lack of time to participate and whether the programs will actually help them get fit.

As a consequence of rising health care costs, companies have shown an increased interest in the health of their workers. One result has been the growth of programs that try to engage employees in exercise and other preventive health measures.

Companies say that these programs would be more effective overall if they had access to a number of data sources, including employee activity and health claims. Yet some companies worry that workers will resist any attempts at data sharing owing to privacy concerns.

The EIU survey suggests that these worries are unfounded.

BETTER DATA MAKES PROGRAMS MORE EFFECTIVE

More than half of the employers report that they have sufficient data to show progress on controlling medical claims, reducing employee health costs, and improving employee health. But companies say more data are needed to determine if programs are effective in boosting employee engagement, morale, or productivity.

The report found that “most [employers] think full cost-benefit justification is neither possible nor necessary. Most also agree, however, that better data collection and interpretation would yield more effective programme management and greater progress toward business goals.”

The EIU survey indicates that privacy concerns are not preventing employees from taking part.

Forty-two percent of employers, but only 27% of employees, cited employee concern about personal information not remaining confidential. Similarly, 24% of employers, but only 11% of employees, cited mistrust about employer motives. In both cases, less than 20% of employees cited mistrust as an obstacle to greater participation in wellness programs.

DATA SHARING IS OK—IF IT’S BENEFICIAL

Individuals, especially the younger generations, increasingly share all sorts of information about themselves. In most cases, they do this voluntarily because it immediately benefits them. It helps them maintain relationships with friends, get discounts on purchases, or aid their doctors in making better diagnoses. What they object to is other people using this information without their consent and in ways that harm them. Patients, for example, may want their data to be shared by those who can help cure them, but object when that same data are used to increase insurance rates.

According to the survey, 38% of workers have no hesitation about sharing personal health data as part of a wellness program. Moreover, two-thirds would share personal health data if assured that it would be used only for their benefit.

However, the main reason for not participating in wellness programs was lack of time.

And it is clear from the EIU survey that workers care about their well-being. Eighty-four percent of respondents say they have goals, mainly directed at fitness (71%), weight (63%), and diet (58%). Many respondents also are adopting new technology, as only 36% responded that they have never used a health and wellness device. These devices, which are often based on wearable tracking technology, generate lots of data. About one-fourth of users routinely track their progress either online or on their smartphone. Another one-third track their progress occasionally. Of those who have never used a personal health and wellness accessory, 72% would use one if their employer integrated the resulting data into the wellness program.

The lesson here seems to be that if employers can guarantee confidentiality and explain how the data will be used, concerns about sharing information are not a major obstacle to worker participation in wellness programs. To accomplish this, employers need to design programs that are easy to participate in and are effective at helping employees reach their goals.

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Portland botique “Gilt” sues “Gilt Groupe, Inc.”

November 13, 2014 --

Miller Nash LLP,
Oregon and Washington Law Firm

Miller Nash LLP has filed a trademark-infringement lawsuit against online retailer Gilt Groupe, Inc., a $500 million company based in New York. Miller Nash filed the suit on behalf of northwest Portland boutique Gilt and its founder, Paula Bixel. Gilt, which sells local, sustainable and unique vintage and antique jewelry, alleges that Gilt Groupe, Inc. (which also goes by “Gilt”), has tarnished and diluted the brand that Bixel has spent 20 years building.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Portland, also alleges unfair competition and unjust enrichment, and seeks to cancel many of Gilt Groupe’s federal trademark registrations.

“Bixel’s boutique has been a fixture on the Northwest 23rd shopping scene for decades. When people walk by her storefront and mistake her unique store for a corporate giant, or remark on all the spam they receive from ‘Gilt,’ it is heartbreaking for her,” said Elizabeth Milesnick, attorney for Gilt. “She just wants it to stop.”

Read the full article and discuss it »
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