Results for Think Out Loud (Other Results)
According to the latest numbers, Portland is no longer one of the tightest rental markets in the country. But with a 5.2 percent vacancy rate, it it can still be tough to find an affordable apartment or home for rent in Oregon's most populous city. The statewide rate — 6.1 percent — remains among the nation's lowest. The national average is 8.7 percent and only nine states reported lower vacancy rates than Oregon's in the fourth quarter of 2012. While a limited rental market can create opportunities for property owners, rising rental costs put a strain on renters, particularly if they are low-income.
Lipstick sales have often been considered a gauge of the economy — the theory being that in tight times women will often buy themselves a new lipstick instead of a new outfit. Economist Alan Greenspan said he looked to men's underwear sales as a predictor for a recession or recovery. He believed that in a recession, men failed to replace their underwear. We featured unconventional economic indicators in a down economy. Now, as the economy begins to improve, we're looking into unusual signs of recovery. What are your economic indicators? Are you going to the spa again? Or eating out more often? Or are you still holding back on buying a new book in favor of visiting the library? Perhaps continuing to shop at Goodwill?
Over the last few months, Think Out Loud has traveled around Oregon to explore the broad question of what makes rural economies thrive. From the high mountains of eastern Oregon to the central Oregon coast, we met fascinating people in old and new industries — all trying to make the best living they can in relatively small and sometimes isolated communities. In this show, we'll bring you the highlights and some favorite moments, but you can hear the entire series — plus stories from OPB news on the same subject — here.
A recent article in Oregon Business made waves in this state and around the country — and grabbed our attention as we were preparing for a trip to southern Oregon. The article looked at the economic effect of marijuana, tracing it from glassblowers to fertilizer makers to medical-marijuana-card recommenders. It painted a picture of an above-ground economic engine that has sprouted from (but not replaced) an underground trade. At the same time, both law enforcement and pro-pot activists have complaints about the gray areas in Oregon's current system. In fact, pot has been all over the news in the last few months. NPR explored many financial and legal questions in their multi-part series "The New Marijuana." Initiative efforts throughout the country aim to liberalize marijuana laws. And in Oregon, backers of Initiative 28 hope to put a measure before voters in November that would bring marijuana dispensaries to the state.
As the weather gets warmer and the rain (hopefully) lets up, Oregonians are doing more food shopping outdoors at their local farmers' markets. But how local is the food? Many farmers sell their own crops along with those grown by others. This practice is condoned by some markets, with some guidelines about clear labeling. The rules vary, but many markets require that a certain percentage of a vendor's wares be fruits and vegetables they grew themselves. Some go so far as to say that everything a seller brings must be homegrown. One farmer we spoke with said he's disappointed that many of his fellow merchants don't follow the rules when it comes to selling food they haven't grown. He's gone so far as to stop selling wholesale altogether in order to keep from competing with his own harvest at the market. Another concern to many vendors is the Food Safety Modernization Act, which is working its way through Congress. (We talked about this last December, when there were still many specifics to be worked out.)
On February 12th an off-duty sergeant walked into the M & M Lounge and Restaurant in Gresham and shot and killed his wife, two of her friends, and, ultimately, himself. To my count this was the eighth murder-suicide in Oregon and Southwest Washington since November. At the same time the headlines are filled with other stories detailing domestic abuse. Oregon football player LaMichael James was arrested for grabbing his girlfriend around her neck and throwing her to the ground in a parking lot. An Oregon assistant attorney general, Susan Gerber, was accused of punching and strangling her longtime partner. And Milwaukie detective Thomas Garrett was accused of assault in the presence of children. Why are there so many cases of domestic violence in the news right now? Is it, in part, because of the economy? What is driving people to hurt others in this way? Local experts stress that more people do not abuse because of a bad economy. But they do admit that people who do abuse, or who have abusive tendencies, might be more inclined to violence when they lose their job or their money gets tight. Limited financial resources can also hinder people from leaving abusive situations. Abuse, therefore, can become more lethal when times are tough. Do you see that correlation? What's your response to the many stories of domestic violence in the news? How does the recession affect the way you, or your family members or friends, act? Are you a person who has suffered from abuse? Or who has a history of abusing? How have you seen the economy affect your actions?
One of the most economically depressed cities in Oregon is seeing jobs come back into town through the onion industry.
President Obama will hold a press conference today at noon. Topics will include Russian relations, Edward Snowden and the state of the economy. We'll have reactions to the speech with our News Roundtable immediately following the press conference.
Results for OPB
The Rural Economy Project was designed as a partnership to help gather resources and meet the needs of workers and businesses in rural communities across Oregon. Hear from community bloggers and check out ripplenw.org for shared resources.
A new economic study of Oregon's ski industry estimates that last season skiers and snowboarders contributed more than $480 million to the state economy.
A new report says Oregon's budding electric vehicle industry is contributing $266 million to the state's economy and adding hundreds of jobs.
After more than a year’s worth of layoffs at the Idaho National Laboratory people in Idaho Falls worry things could get worse for the region’s largest employer — that it could lose its “national laboratory” designation or be closed altogether.
Vancouver's Mayor Tim Leavitt says the city is in "stable" financial state. In his "State of the City" address, he laid out goals for economic recovery.