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Portland Airbnb: 75% in violation

December 13, 2018 --

By Oregon Small Business Association,

More than 75 percent of the people renting homes in Portland through Airbnb, Vacasa and other online sites are doing so in violation of city regulations.

Portland city auditors discovered that four of every five short-term rentals operate illegally, but the city hasn’t enforced the regulations it established in 2014 to keep hotel-type businesses out of residential neighborhoods, The Oregonian reported early last month. The city requires people renting their primary homes to live there at least nine months of the year, limit stays to 30 days, and acquire permits.

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Feds close fake document business

December 12, 2018 --

By Oregon Small Business Association

Federal officials shut down an Oregon man’s website that sold fake documents identity thieves could use to defraud innocent victims.

Steven Simmons, who operated www.noveltyexcuses under the company name of Integrated Flight Solutions of Beaverton, agreed to permanently shut down his business as part of a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission.

The FTC announced that Simmons and two other people—one in California, the other in Texas—operated websites that sold fake pay stubs, utility bills, income tax forms, medical records and other documents that could be used for criminal activity, such as identity theft and tax fraud.

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Wyden: Texting and free speech

December 11, 2018 --

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden  called on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to classify text messaging as a telecommunications service.

During its open meeting on Dec. 12, the FCC will vote on a proposed declaratory ruling classifying text messaging as an information service, which would permit telephone carriers to block text messages to favor their own texting services and stifle free speech.

In 2007, Verizon Wireless blocked mass text messages from Naral Pro-Choice America, an advocacy group supporting women’s reproductive rights. Verizon argued it had the right to censor this content, deeming the messages “controversial and unsavory.”

In recent years, several petitioners have submitted filings to the FCC detailing a series of incidents in which carriers try to force texters to pay for more expensive short code system or enterprise text messaging to reach their audience, rather than by traditional text messages.

“In the 21st century, text messaging is as essential as telephone service, facilitating trillions of messages between senders and receivers each year – from businesses and customers, from organizations and supporters, from parents and teachers, and from doctors and patients,” Wyden and nine other senators wrote in today’s letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.

“Should text messaging be classified as an information service, telephone carriers would be free to block any text message they wish,” they wrote. “We urge you to right this wrong and classify text messaging as a telecommunications service, affording this vital means of communications protections that promote innovation and support freedom of speech.”

Joining Wyden in signing the letter are Senators Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).

A copy of the letter is available here.

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Household Spending: Ore. speeds past nation

December 10, 2018 --

By Josh Lehner
Oregon Office of Economic Analysis

The strong economy is reaching all corners with employment rates and household incomes rising. One result is households are feeling pretty good right now. Balance sheets have been repaired. Debt, while rising, is in line with income gains, meaning there is no massive buildup like last decade. More importantly, given low interest rates in recent years, the payments to service the debt are at or near historic lows. All told, consumer sentiment is as high as it was at the peak of the 1980s and mid-2000s expansions, although a bit lower than in the late 1990s.

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3 factors most impacting markets

December 8, 2018 --

by Timothy D. Carkin
Senior Vice President
Ferguson Wellman
Oregon based Capitol Management Firm

With a week subdued by a day of mourning, traders hoped market volatility would follow suit: it did not. In less than three trading sessions the S&P 500 traded down five percent, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost more than 1,400 points and small cap stocks lost 6 percent. We believe this market volatility is not over as investors adjust to a new paradigm of deceleration in a still expanding economy, the prospect of higher short-term interest rates and uncertainty surrounding trade and tariff policy.

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34% can’t find workers to hire

December 7, 2018 --


Small business job creation inched up in November, rising to a net addition of 0.19 workers per firm, according to NFIB’s monthly jobs report, released today. Sixteen percent of owners reported increasing employment an average of 2.9 workers per firm, unchanged from October, and 11 percent reported reducing employment and average of 1.9 workers per firm.

“As a banner year comes to an end, small business owners have shown that when taxes and regulations fade as a major concern for their business, they will invest in their business and employees,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita D. Duggan. “The biggest concern facing small businesses going into the holiday season and next year is finding qualified employees for the positions they’ve created.”

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Here comes the beer, wine, cider, vaping tax

December 6, 2018 --

By John A. Charles, Jr.
Cascade Policy Institute,

Governor Kate Brown’s top health care administrator is requesting that the legislature increase taxes on beer, wine, cider, cigarettes, cigars, and vaping pens. If approved, the taxes would result in $784 million in new revenue for the state over the next two years.

Health officials claim that this is a “public health” measure designed to reduce consumption of harmful products, but it’s really just a money grab. The state has an estimated shortfall of $800 million in Medicaid funding, and this proposal conveniently would raise almost that amount.

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Companies cancel perks: Gambling, limos, strip clubs

December 5, 2018 --

By Oregon Small Business Association,

2018 is the year of change for many companies.  This year, Spotify was rebuked for sending their top employees to strip clubs.  NIKE removed six executives for sexual harassment which included unwanted advances and trips to strip clubs.   Google employees walked out across the world in protest of their poor handling of sexual harassment issues.

The biggest announcement of them all has come from Under Armour.

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Business Bust: Exporting pot in fake rocks

December 4, 2018 --

By US Attorney, Oregon District

Curran Millican Manzer, 37, of Springfield, Oregon, pleaded guilty to a single count of possession with intent to the distribute marijuana after repeatedly shipping marijuana out of state.

“Illegal export continues to plague Oregon’s under regulated and insufficiently enforced state laws governing state-licensed marijuana. The extreme overproduction of marijuana in Oregon has prompted many individuals to seek out-of-state distribution opportunities to recoup the costs of both illegal and legal in-state production. Disrupting these interstate distribution channels remains a priority of our office,” said Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

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DeFazio on new NAFTA deal

December 3, 2018 --

Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio,

Although the president has repeatedly and emphatically stated that he would get rid of the disastrous trade policies of the last twenty-five years, this agreement promotes many of the same damaging provisions as its predecessor. As currently written, this agreement does not truly protect American jobs, American workers, or our environment.

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