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San Jose-based SoloPower is struggling to break into the competitive solar panel marketplace with a flexible panel that’s relatively expensive to produce. SoloPower has notified state officials that it is laying off 29 employees and closing its North Portland facility, in June.
Polk County Sheriff Bob Wolfe says his office will be able to avoid layoffs this summer, but only because of losing staff to attrition.
Management changes at Portland's Rose Garden arena could cost hundreds of workers their jobs – according to a filing made Monday with state officials. It’s part of a shake-up behind the scenes in the city's Rose Quarter.
The unemployment rate in Crook County jumped to the highest in the state last month following layoffs at a mill in Prineville.
Last November the Woodgrain Mill shut down most of its operation in Prineville and laid off nearly 200 workers, after the mill's roof collapsed. Now, both the community and laid-off workers are struggling to recover.
Beginning next month, Tillamook County Creamery Association (TCCA) will be eliminating 50 positions from their flagship factory in Tillamook. The layoffs come as an attempt to reduce the high transportation costs associated with shipping cheese across the nation. Beyond saving money, TCCA hopes the cuts will improve overall efficiency as well. Starting February, only 40 percent of the cheese will be packaged at the factory, and the rest out of state, closer to its final destination. As a result up to half of the packaging department in Tillamook will lose their jobs. With a population of roughly 4,500 residents, and few family wage jobs available, a cut of 50 positions will have a large impact on the local community. Already the Tillamook Cheese Facebook page has been immersed with comments regarding the announcement, including strategies as to how Tillamook could avoid these reductions. TCCA has been active in defending their decision. The company is claiming that the cuts are necessary to remain competitive within the market place, and to deal with their growing customer base out with the Northwestern states. TCCA hopes that natural attrition within the workforce and retirements will account for some of the cuts, and states that Tillamook will always remain as the home and headquarters of the TCCA.
Washington state released their latest unemployment figures today. Oregon is expected to follow later this week and Oregon's news — much like Washington's — is not expected to be good. More and more people are losing their jobs as the economy continues to slide. What about people who are not being laid off, but whose employers are starting to feel the pinch? Some companies are cutting salaries by five or ten percent. (That may not sound like much, but if you're living paycheck to paycheck it may mean a present-less birthday party for your daughter or a missed mortgage payment.) Other companies are lapsing on their employees' medical insurance payments. How are you being chipped away at in this economy? How are those small changes changing your life?
The Polk County Commissioner's Office unanimously voted to add a public safety levy to the ballot in the November elections. The levy would collect 60 cents for every 1,000 dollars of property value. Recently, the Polk County Sheriff's was forced to switch to 20 hour patrol shifts, and were only spared layoffs when 4 deputies voluntarily left the department. If the levy fails, the Polk County District Attorney's Office said they would be forced to stop prosecuting Class B and C misdemeanors, such as shoplifting and tresspassing. The proposal comes on the heels of Josephine and Curry counties rejecting similar levies in the wake of major public safety concerns.
Yesterday the president and publisher of The Oregonian, N. Christian Anderson III, broke some big news to the paper's staff. Beginning October 1 the paper will continue to publish seven days a week, but delivery will only happen on four days. There will be a new digital version of the paper called "My Digital O." The Oregonian will move offices. And there will be "significant layoffs." Staff are expected to find out by the end of the day today if they will have a job come October 1. We'll get Anderson's take on what is happening.
This fall a new digitally focused media group will launch, replacing The Oregonian as we know it. This Oregonian Media Group will print the paper seven days a week, but only make it available for home delivery on four days: Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, with the option of receiving the Saturday paper as well. You will still be able to purchase a paper at newsstands every day. Oregonian staff were told to expect significant layoffs. This model replicates what's happened already with the Plain Dealer in Cleveland (and similar, though not identical to the Times Picayune in New Orleans). We'll find out what this means for staff and readers of the paper.
Felony offenses including robbery, assault, rape, and theft have drastically increased in Medford over the past several years. Assault alone is up 52 percent, with 1,580 incidents last year. Drug offenses increased by 73 percent to 1,914 incidents in 2012. Law enforcement and other agencies are trying to figure out how to cope with the increase in crime, which is especially challenging due to tight budgets. The county sheriff's department was already considering layoffs during union negotiations earlier this year. Jackson County Mental Health, which also offers addiction services, laid off 10 people due to cuts during the last legislative session. The county jail has room for 230 inmates, but with 4,766 forced releases in Jackson County last year, Medford Deputy Chief Tim Doney says it's hard to keep people there. He says it's difficult to keep anyone in jail for long when they've been arrested for property crimes and drug crimes. Source: Medford Police Department
Portland Business Journal editor, Rob Smith, will be in studio for our regular business update. Here are some of the topics we'll be looking at:
Governor Kitzhaber unveiled his budget proposal for the 2013-2015 biennium on Friday morning. One of the issues it is tackles is the controversy over how to deal with the rising costs of the Public Employees Retirement System. While that plan may be a hard sell with some state workers, his promise to eliminate furloughs will likely be a well-received change from the nearly two weeks of mandatory unpaid days in the current budget. The Oregon legislature convenes Jan. 14, 2013.
Rob Smith, editor of the Portland Business Journal, returns for our regular business chat. We'll discuss a variety of topics, but we're focusing on layoffs at Bank of America and compensation for public employees. On Monday, Bank of America announced that it would cut 30,000 jobs as part of a plan to reduce expenses by $5 billion by 2014. We'll find out what impact these cuts will have on Oregon, where Bank of America is the second largest bank by deposit. A new database the journal is working on will catalog how much government employees at Metro, Multnomah County, and the City of Portland earn. The database will also cover the pay of CEOs at some of Oregon's publicly traded companies. The Portland Business Journal will release the database on Friday.
Peter DeFazio is known as an outspoken member of Congress. He was elected in 1986 and now serves on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the House Natural Resources Committee. Among his many caucus memberships, he's the founding member of the House Small Brewer's Caucus. DeFazio isn't shy about speaking his mind. Here's what he had to say about the debt deal (that he voted against):
We did not do good for our country with that vote. We didn't meaningfully address our long term deficit problems.And when it came to job creation he said this:
We have the economy that tax cuts gives us. It's not putting anybody to work. We need investment. The president talks about investment, but he never delivers and he never pushes and he never fights.He may say he's lost faith in the leadership in Washington, but he certainly still has faith in his home community of Lane County. He's fighting to get a veteran's medical center opened in Springfield or Eugene. (It's been approved, but is taking a long time to get going). And he responds to the recent layoff of 450 people at Monaco Coach by saying it's a symptom of the overall bleak economic climate and that the local economy most needs is a boost of education dollars, since the University of Oregon is one of the area's biggest employers. We'll talk to DeFazio about all those things, plus the Columbia River Crossing, the O&C lands (which depend on timber payments) and more.