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Wyden asks FBI to stop ‘Ransomware’ hackers

December 16, 2015 --

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

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., asked FBI Director James Comey how the FBI is tackling the increasing problem of “ransomware” attacks in a letter. Ransomware attacks refer to the growing criminal practice of hacking Americans’ devices, encrypting personal information and holding it for ransom through ransomware software commonly known as Cryptolocker and Cryptowall.

“With this problem becoming increasingly widespread, the FBI should explore all legal options for stopping the successful use of ransomware. Not only should these efforts focus on cyber criminals conducting encryption attacks, they should also target the ransom payments from victims to cyber criminals,” Wyden wrote. “As we continue to live in a global economy driven by Internet communications, the need to stop bad actors becomes more important every day.”

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Portland moves ahead on criminal hiring rule

December 15, 2015 --

By Bullard Law,
Portland law firm
Benjamin P. O’Glasser

Portland to Implement Ban the Box

The City of Portland has jumped to the forefront of the national “ban the box” trend and has adopted a new ordinance that restricts many employers from screening applicants based on their criminal history before making a conditional job offer.

Portland’s ban the box ordinance, which goes into effect on July 1, 2016, will impose restrictions on employers of six or more persons as they consider applicants for any position that will require work within the City of Portland for more than half of the employee’s time. Full-time, part-time, temporary, seasonal, and unpaid employees all are covered by the ordinance. Employers will be barred from making any inquiry about a job applicant’s criminal history prior to making a conditional job offer.

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Steep Oregon job loss reversed quickly

December 14, 2015 --

chart-duy-dec15University of Oregon Regional Economic Indexes
By Tim Duy
Oregon Economic Forum
University of  Oregon

Oregon Economic Indicators:

The Oregon Measure of Economic Activity rebounded from an upwardly revised September number. As expected, the steep job losses reported in September were almost entirely revised away with the October employment report. Highlights of the report include:

– In October, the manufacturing sector made a neutral contribution as the negative impact of national manufacturing indicators was offset by stronger Oregon manufacturing labor-related data. Construction employment boosted that sector while housing permits were neutral.
– Labor indicators – initial unemployment claims, labor force, and employment services jobs – bolstered the household sector. Also, a rebound in equity prices pushed the contribution from the S&P 500 component back into positive territory. Some soft employment numbers weighed on the services sector.

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TV Ads plummeting

December 11, 2015 --

nfib-logoBy NFIB,

Advertisers are cutting the cord on TV spending. And small businesses could gain a lot as TV’s relevance continues to fizzle in an increasingly digital world.

Global revenue from digital advertising is poised to surpass that of traditional TV by 2017, according to a recent Magna Global study. That torch-passing is expected to happen even sooner in the U.S.—digital advertising revenue is expected to outperform TV by 2016.

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Portland reverses opposition, OKs Uber & Lyft

December 10, 2015 --

Cascade-PolicyBy Steve Buckstein,
Cascade Policy Institute

The Portland City Council has voted 3-2 to let ridesharing companies Uber and Lyft operate permanently in the city. The normally “progressive” council members’ split decision revealed a conflict of visions that does not fall along ideological lines as much as it falls along lines revealing how they view the future.

Author Virginia Postrel wrote a book in 1998 that virtually foresaw the conflict Portlanders and others around the world are wrestling with in the new sharing/app economy – an economy that didn’t even exist until 2008. In The Future and Its Enemies: The Growing Conflict Over Creativity, Enterprise, and Progress, Postrel argued that the opposing world views of “stasis” and “dynamism” are replacing “left” and “right” as we struggle to define our cultural and political debate in the twenty-first century.

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Oregon 2015 – who’s been hiring?

December 9, 2015 --

jobs-hiring-growthBy Oregon Small Business Association,

Though 2015 has witnessed key Oregon companies being acquired by out-of-state enterprises, relocating elsewhere or reducing jobs, a number of other companies have expanded operations. Breweries, sports apparel, and a range of technology-related businesses have made significant investments in Oregon to strengthen their presence in Portland or other parts of the state.

Facebook to hire 150. The social media giant is moving forward with plans for its third and largest data center in Prineville. Upwards of 150 or more jobs are likely to follow to Central Oregon.
GuideSpark eyes 200 new employees. The technology firm has developed a video platform for HR and is expanding its content team in Portland, which was chosen over several other locations considered for growth. To fulfill the terms of its loan from the state, GuideSpark must hire an additional 200 employees. Timing on the hiring isn’t known, but the company has double or tripled in size each of the last three years.

Breweries. North Rim Brewery in Bend, Deschutes Brewery also in Bend, Three Creeks Brewing in Sisters, Widmer Brewing in Portland are just a few breweries that have all significantly expanded operations and added jobs in 2015.

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Oregon economic activity goes negative

December 7, 2015 --

chart-duy-november15University of Oregon Regional Economic Indexes
By Tim Duy
Oregon Economic Forum
University of  Oregon

Oregon Economic Indicators:

-Weak employment numbers dragged the Oregon Measure of Economic Activity deep into negative territory in September. Highlights of the report include:

 – The three-month moving average, which smooths month-to-month volatility in the measure, remained above average (“zero” indicates average growth over the 1990-present period). Only the household sector contributed positively to this month’s measure.
– Employment components were primarily responsible for weakness across other sectors. Overall, nonfarm jobs in the state dipped by 5,300 according to the first release of the employment data. Such declines are very rare outside of recessions and are generally subsequently reversed when they occur during expansions.

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House passes Transportation Act

December 4, 2015 --

Chamber-of-commerceU.S. Chamber of Commerce

U.S. Chamber President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue today issued the following statement regarding House approval of H.R. 22, the “Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act”:

“The FAST Act is a critical investment in our nation’s future that will help keep people and commerce moving and put Americans to work rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure. We applaud the House and Senate for finding a path forward on this important legislation.

“This five-year reauthorization for our nation’s federal transportation infrastructure will enhance our global competitiveness and enable business to plan for the future, creating jobs and strengthening the economy. This bill also gives Congress time to discuss longer-term solutions for providing consistent funding for the Highway Trust Fund without the looming threat of another short-term extension deadline.

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Is Hiring Best Qualified Candidate an ADA Violation?

December 3, 2015 --

By Bullard Law,
Portland law firm
By Michael G. McClory

Sometimes it seems like EEOC tests its theories on the fly rather than thinking about them first. This week’s (fictional) mailbag is filled with questions from HR managers wondering if they could get in trouble for hiring the most qualified candidate. The Bullard Edge wishes that “no” was the simple answer. That is not the case though, as illustrated by our response to a mailbag question from Shae Watt, Mid-Town Bread Company’s HR Manager.

Shae’s Question:

I think the “HR” in my title means “Having Regret.” Some days I wonder why I got into this game. You are awfully lucky at The Bullard Edge – sitting back with a Pepsi and pontificating while those of us in the trenches do the real work.

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Changes to new paid-sick leave

December 2, 2015 --

Associated Oregon Industries
Oregon’s largest business advocate

In the ongoing process of implementing Oregon’s new Paid Sick Leave law (PSL), the Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) released a third rule draft this week. Although BOLI made several of the changes that AOI and partner associations requested, the rules still present significant problems for employers.

Joint Employers: The new rule draft continues to require that joint employers (for example, a staffing organization and the client employer) be “jointly responsible, both individually and jointly, for ensuring compliance” with the PSL law. This is unduly burdensome for the client employer, who will have to keep records on temporary employees that may only work for them for a week or two. This joint responsibility also means that both employers must count the temporary worker when determining whether they meet the 10 employee threshold for having to pay for sick leave.

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