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What happens to workers when an industry collapses or a new technology takes off? NPR brings you stories of people adapting to a changing economy. This week: a former cowboy in the wind industry.
At a wind energy conference in California Monday, Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer criticized Bonneville Power Administration for shutting off wind turbines last week when there was too much hydropower coming onto the grid.
The second annual Small and Community Wind Conference is being held in Portland this week.
The Obama administration released new rules Friday for protecting wildlife from wind farms.
As wind farms expand across the country some are facing new opposition. Military bases complain the tall turbines interfere with their training flights and safety of their pilots.
Northwest utilities were busy Tuesday. Portland General Electric settled a long-standing lawsuit over its coal plant. At the same time, the Bonneville Power Administration addressed its complicated relationship with wind power by making two announcements Tuesday.
A Seattle wind energy company and an Oregon port have won federal funding to develop an offshore wind energy platform.
Big new offshore wind farms are opening up, with a lot of muscle. We'll look at wind, oil and the future of energy in America.
Wind energy is fast becoming a major industry for the Columbia River Gorge and its surrounding counties. Several projects (pdf) in various stages of development promise to bring in temporary construction jobs as well as some more permanent wind technician positions. The local community college already offers a training program for aspiring wind technicians and local landowners are exploring the benefits of leasing their property to accommodate wind turbines for decades to come. Many residents are optimistic that these projects will bring in tax revenue that could offer a much-needed boost to the struggling rural area. Wind farm development in the Gorge has also met with some local opposition, which cites concerns that turbines will negatively impact the scenic area — specifically the tourism dollars many residents depend on. The Bonneville Power Administration is also uneasy about the spike in wind farm development and the economic drivers behind it (namely tax credits and state renewable energy requirements).
Spoiler alert: free samples and drive-through windows are a no-go.
HNDRXX is Future's second major-label release in two weeks. Could flooding the market be the new model for an industry coasting on antiquated release strategies?
Rob Smith joins us for our usual business check-in. Oregon's film and television industry is thriving thanks to three TV shows that are shooting here: Portlandia, Grimm and Levereage. But there's actually a shortage of local talent — such as animators and graphic artists — according to some of the smaller produciton companies that are based here. There's a dispute going on at the Port of Portland's container terminal. The longshoreman's (ILWU Local 8) union claims it has jurisdiction over refrigerated containers coming in to the port, but the Brotherhood of Electrical Workers says otherwise. The ILWU is suing the terminal's owners and meanwhile, shipping at the terminal is slower than normal. A Vancouver-based yacht-building company is showing what it means to diversify a niche business in order to weather touch economic times. After a severe reduction in staff since 2008, Christensen Shipyards branched out to building renewable energy products like wind turbines as well as some defense contracting work. Town car and limosine companies in Portland are unhappy with the city's regulation that they must charge more than cabs for rides to the airport. Two companies have filed a lawsuit against the city to try and change the long-standing rule.
"Pink slime" is the pejorative nickname given to what the food industry calls "lean finely textured beef." What both terms refer to is ammonia treated ground beef made from the fatty, unused trimmings of other cuts. Reports by The Daily and ABC News on the widespread use of the beef sparked outrage, and inspired a petition to ban the USDA from buying the product for schools. The USDA responded by letting schools choose whether to use pink slime or not — at least at the 20 percent of American schools where it is in charge of food purchases. Since that announcement, many grocers have committed to stop carrying the product. Unsurprisingly, Beef Products Inc., which manufacturers the product, announced this week it will suspend operations at three of its four factories.
A lot of the biggest Northwest environmental stories surrounded energy issues. Coal plants in Centralia, WA, and Boardman, OR both faced pressure to close their doors sooner than planned. Those closures come at the same time that Longview, WA and Bellingham, WA proposed coal export terminals to ship the resource to China. Idaho joined in on the national push toward "fracking" for natural gas. And the federal decision to postpone the Keystone XL oil pipeline has raised the question of whether we'll see more oil tankers in NW waters as companies look for other routes to carry oil to China. The national Solyndra controversy raised questions about the certainty of investments in the local renewable energy industry. The wind and hydroelectric industries tried to work out the kinks of how to deal with the times when too much energy gets generated by both sources. And the Japanese tsunami that led to the ongoing Fukushima nuclear crisis and cleanup has raised quesitons everywhere about the safety of nuclear energy.
Writer, educator and self-described feminist pornographer Tristan Taormino will speak to students at the University of Oregon and Oregon State University this week. Over the past few months, she's had an on-again, off-again relationship with OSU. In October 2010, she was invited to be the keynote speaker at the university's Modern Sex Conference, taking place this week. Last month, the university uninvited Taormino, citing her involvement in the pornography industry. Administrators argued that paying for Taormino to speak on campus would be an inappropriate use of taxpayer money.
When University of Oregon literature professor Jennifer Burns Levin caught wind of the original cancellation, she jumped at the opportunity to bring the writer and sex educator to the Eugene campus. The cost of Taormino's appearance at the University of Oregon will be paid for by a combination of student and public funds. In the past, Taormino has lectured at top colleges and universities including Yale, Cornell, Princeton, Brown, Columbia, Smith, Vassar, and New York University, about issues affecting sexuality and feminism.
When you meet someone new, how long does it take for one of you to ask the other, "So, what do you do?" It's a common question used to glean information about a person's passions as well as the way they spend the majority of their time. Many people here, and elsewhere, define themselves as much by their jobs as by the things they love to do outside of work. The connection between career and personal identity has shifted for many people in the recession. Thousands of people in Oregon are out of work and, as they look for new opportunities, many are exploring new career paths. Regardless of the recession, it's become unusual to expect to stay in the same job or even the same field for the majority of your working life. A guest on a recent show spoke to us about switching from being a commercial fisherman to a wind turbine technician. So, how does your identity shift when you change jobs?