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Oregon eyes liquor law reforms

November 30, 2015 --

Cascade-PolicyBy Steve Buckstein,
Cascade Policy Institute

There are still eighteen so-called “control states” in America that exert substantial control over the sale of liquor. Oregon is one of them, virtually monopolizing its warehousing, distribution, and sale through the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC). You would think that independent-minded Oregonians would have rebelled against such control by now. Next year, they might.

The grocery industry now plans to place a measure on the 2016 General Election ballot that would allow consumers to buy hard liquor in the same private grocery stores where they can already conveniently purchase beer and wine.

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Multi Time Machine sues Amazon over trademark

November 27, 2015 --

millernashgrahamdunnllp-logoMiller, Nash, Graham & Dunn LLP
NW Law Firm

Multi Time Machine (“MTM”) sued for trademark infringement, claiming that when potential customers searched for MTM products on’s website, search results appeared for other products as does not sell MTM products. MTM claimed that this created “initial interest confusion” such that, although the potential customer was looking for an MTM watch, it would instead be introduced to a competitor’s product and perhaps buy that instead. Although any actual confusion over what product is being sold should dissipate as soon as the potential customer sees the results, the Ninth Circuit has long recognized that the alleged “bait and switch” of enticing a consumer in by advertising one brand only to show it another brand instead is actionable trademark infringement pursuant to the Ninth’s Circuits somewhat unique “initial interest confusion” doctrine.

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Oregon Beer strike brings holiday panic

November 25, 2015 --

Oregon Beer strike brings holiday panic
By Oregon Small Business Association,

The General Distributors strike has begun its second week as it heads into the critical Thanksgiving weekend. Below is a KOIN TV 6 news clip followed by quotes by the key players.

Alameda Breweing

“Basically, it’s kind of put us at a standstill with product”

Teamsters 162 said of their strike

“The concessions amount to a per employee average reduction of $19,000 per year. This attack on our hardworking members is difficult to understand given the history and even harder to understand since the company is as strong and as profitable as they have ever been. “

General Distributors GM Steve “Tiny” Irwin in Oregonian

Irwin said the company was operating at “50 to 60 percent of normal operations” because of the strike, noting that it was the first time workers had walked off the job in more than 50 years of representation by Local 162.Irwin said union employees receive a total compensation package of $32.79 per hour compared to $27.21 by workers at the company’s primary competitor, Maletis Beverage. Those workers also are represented by Local 162, he said.

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Oregon losing $2 billion to this gap

November 24, 2015 --

By Portland Business Alliance

The Portland Business Alliance, the Value of Jobs Coalition, and Chalkboard Project released results of a joint study called, “Economics of the Achievement Gap; Oregon and the Portland Area.” The report looks at the economic impact over time created by the ongoing achievement gap for minority students in Oregon’s public schools.

A key finding of the study shows that if the achievement gap for Oregon’s adult population had been eliminated by 2003, the increase in economic activity in the state would have been $1.9 billion higher in 2013. With nearly half of the students in the Portland Public School system alone currently identified as minorities, the achievement gap will have an even greater impact on Oregon’s future economic vitality.

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Stock Surprise — Back in Business Again

November 23, 2015 --

by Jason Norris, CFA,
Executive Vice President of Research
Ferguson Wellman,Portland

Back in Business Again

It has been a volatile year for equities and as we head into the holiday season, that doesn’t look to dissipate. After the 12 percent sell-off investors went through over the past few months (Fed rate hike concerns, China market crash, Greek debt issues and the constant geo-political flare-ups), the S&P 500 has rallied back, culminating with its best week of the year. While 2014 proved to be a narrow market, 2015 is even more so. When you look at the 10 largest U.S. companies (see table below), you notice the majority of them, have enjoyed significantly greater returns than the 3 percent for the S&P 500.

first image








Source: FactSet data through Nov 20, 2015

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Minimum wage…too low or too high?

November 20, 2015 --

Minimum wage…too low or too high?tjcar2
By T.J. Reilly
President, Oregon Small Business Association

Almost everyone once worked at a minimum wage job. This is where most of us learned our first basic workplace skills. Many of us received the training that launched us into the careers that we have today. The low minimum wage we received enabled our employer to hire us when we had absolutely no previous employment experience. If you were like me, the low minimum wage you received pushed you to acquire additional training , or to pursue a different career.

I think it’s important to put a face on today’s minimum wage earner.

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Wyden: 3 key Oregon projects in Transportation Bill

November 19, 2015 --

Wyden-ron-SenatorU.S. Senator Ron Wyden Press Release,

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said that a trio of essential highway projects in Oregon would benefit from a long-term plan to rebuild the national transportation infrastructure.

A member of the Transportation Infrastructure Conference Committee, Wyden praised the House bill for bringing new projects within national scenic areas into the mix for transportation funding, including bridges near Hood River and Cascade Locks.

He also cited another provision that upgrades both I-205 in Portland and the Newberg-Dundee Bypass to “high priority corridor” status, which means both routes would be poised right near the top of the list for future federal investment.

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Oregon hourly wages rise

November 18, 2015 --

By Oregon Employment Department,

Average Hourly Wages on the Rise

After years of remaining flat, average hourly wages (adjusted for inflation) have risen in 2015. In August 2015, average hourly wages in Oregon were $23.42, up from $23.16 in August 2014.

This comes in part from essentially no change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) over the year, which was held down by a 12-month decrease in gas prices of 23.3 percent.

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Oregon’s transportation hole

November 17, 2015 --

nfib-logoBy Oregon NFIB,

State infrastructure is in need of an overhaul, but it’s unclear where the money will come from.

Oregon’s infrastructure is in poor shape and could face significant deterioration within the next two decades, according to the state’s department of transportation.

Basic maintenance costs to keep Oregon bridges in their current condition is estimated at $240 million a year for 20 years; to improve conditions, the state would need an additional $180 million a year in funding.

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Your liability when a worker refuses family leave

November 16, 2015 --

By Dunn, Carney, Allen, Higgins & Tongue

Employer Avoids Liability When Employee Refuses FMLA Leave

In a recent federal case applicable to Oregon and Washington employers, Foster Farms was found not to have interfered with an employee’s rights under the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) when the employee affirmatively declined to use protected FMLA leave and was later terminated for violating the employer’s three-day no-call, no-show rule. The case is Escriba v. Foster Poultry Farms, Inc., 743 F.3d 1236 (9th Cir. 2014). The court held that an employee may have a right to FMLA leave but decide not to take it. Otherwise, employers would be placed “in an untenable situation” of “forcing FMLA leave on the unwilling employee”—one that could lead to liability for FMLA interference. The court also found compelling evidence the employee knew vacation requests were made to her supervisor, whereas requests for FMLA leave were made to Human Resources. The employee had requested FMLA leave on 15 previous occasions—each time by going to Human Resources—whereas all prior vacation requests were taken to her supervisor.

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