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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.
The unemployment rate in Crook County jumped to the highest in the state last month following layoffs at a mill in Prineville.
Evraz -- the Russian steel giant that acquired Oregon Steel Mills two years ago -- says it is going to temporarily lay off 225 workers at its Portland mill.
It was a year ago Wednesday that Intel announced it would cut 10,000 jobs worldwide. Analysts estimated those job losses would translate to about 1700 positions in Oregon, where the company has a large research and development presence.
The cuts have already hit some well-known names, including veteran NFL reporter Ed Werder, college football analyst Danny Kannell, and college basketball reporter C.L. Brown.
Polk County Sheriff Bob Wolfe says his office will be able to avoid layoffs this summer, but only because of losing staff to attrition.
Beaverton’s well-regarded public school system will face its fifth consecutive year of multi-million-dollar cuts, forcing the district to eliminate 344 of its roughly 4,000 jobs, under a 2012-2013 budget approved Monday night.
Portland’s famous independent bookstore, Powell’s, has announced a round of layoffs. In a release, the company said an unspecified number of people would be laid off as a response to the, “unprecedented, rapidly changing nature of the book industry”.
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.
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.
Wednesday is the last day of school for kids in the Portland and Beaverton districts. In collaboration with the OPB News series, Learning with Less, we'll look back on how education fared during a tough economic year. It's been a tumultuous year for public schools across the state. Two of the biggest districts — Portland and Beaverton — both faced serious budget shortfalls. Over the past few months, we've talked about some of the heart-wrenching decisions school boards have had to make: closing Oregon's only public all-girls school, cutting funding for Outdoor School and eliminating 344 jobs in the Beaverton district. We've heard from parents who have been affected by all of these choices and some who've considered the private school option as a result. Earlier this month, the City of Portland put $7.1 million towards helping area schools make up their budget gaps. Portland Public Schools got the bulk of the money ($5 million) to save teaching jobs, but the district will still have to make significant cuts due to its $27 million budget shortfall.
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.
The Blue Heron paper company has announced 50 layoffs and filed for Chapter 11 bankrupcy — both moves the company says it needs to make to stay in business. Despite the major blow, 165 Blue Heron's employees will keep their jobs. Mill workers at another plant were not so lucky. International Paper closed its Albany plant in December, leaving workers and the community reeling. For the families directly affected by the job losses, the impact is of course enormous. But the shrinking paper business also changes the econonmic realities for many other regional businesses as well.
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.
Union County is more diversified than many rural communities — with people employed in timber, agriculture, education, government, and manufacturing — but it's still feeling the pain of the recession. Boise Cascade just announced that it will close its La Grande mill in about two months, resulting in 120 layoffs (about 225 people in Union County lost their jobs when Boise Cascade made cut backs earlier this year). And Dixie Lund, the president of Eastern Oregon University, says the Boise Cascade closure has sent a "ripple of fear through the community." With an unemployment rate already over 14 percent, how does a rural community like La Grande face the challenge of a global economic crisis? How will this recession change Union County?
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.
Earlier this year, the Beaverton School Board approved a budget that eliminated 344 of its 4,000 teaching positions. But the adjustments teachers had to make didn't end with the cuts. Now educators are adjusting to larger class sizes, and some are being transferred to different schools to teach new subjects. Starting Friday, they're also beginning to use new software — called "Synergy" — that will let teachers and administrators to keep track of grades and student information. For some teachers, learning to use the new program has been as much of a headache as coping with growing class sizes.