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Audio - March 13, 2014
Segmentarticle - March 13, 2014
In his last State of the Union address — entering a reelection year — President Obama spent a lot of time talking about jobs and the economy. He also laid out an array of policy proposals with varying degrees of follow-through. This year's speech is expected to build on the progressive tone of his second inaugural address while focusing on issues that may play to the strengths of some of Oregon's Congressional delegation.
Segmentarticle - Feb. 13, 2013
From explaining the principles of economy to making the case for imposing carbon taxes, Yoram Bauman has found that the best way to explain some complex ideas is through humor. Bauman says that for every fifteen minutes he's making people laugh, he wants to make sure he's also educating them for at least five minutes. When asked what happens if his audience doesn't laugh along with his economics lessons, Bauman says he tries not to take it personally.
Segmentarticle - Sept. 4, 2013
A new program intends to repair or replace manufactured homes in Curry County, with the aim to boost the economy while improving health and livability standards. The county has experienced a decades-long economic slump following the shuttering of its logging operations, and has a high unemployment rate. It also has higher percentages of seniors and manufactured homes than the state average. Nearly a third of all homes in the county are manufactured. That wouldn't be such an issue if they were newer manufactured homes built to current codes. But according to the county, 44 percent of the homes were built before 1980. These are often mobile homes—stacked on blocks and small enough to hitch a pickup. Curry County says that of the 3,876 manufactured homes in the county, about 640 are in fair to poor condition. That's a fuzzy designation that can mean either the sink has fallen through the floor or, as Annette Klinefelter, Curry County's economic development official puts it, "the sink may not have fallen through but it could at any minute." The manufactured program, which Klinefelter describes as a pilot, will replace 25 homes with new manufactured houses. These homeowners will receive loan assistance. Homes that just need patch jobs will get repairs and energy efficiency updates. "We're not willing to give up at just 25," Klinefelter says. "That's only going to scratch the surface."
Segmentarticle - July 30, 2013
Josh Lehner, a senior economist at the state's Office of Economic Analysis, says that houses in the Metro area are becoming less affordable for buyers. According to his numbers, at the end of last year, a buyer who put 20 percent down on a house would have devoted 20.1 percent of her yearly income to the home, which is historically very affordable. Now, because of both rising prices and increased interest rates, that same person would spend 25 percent of her income on the home. That's a quick and steep jump. The group that could be hardest hit by this increase are Millennials—the same group that began graduating from college as the world economy crumbled. The oldest Millennials (or Generation Y or Echo Boomers, if you like), are heading into their 30s. As a group ages from 25 to 35 its number of households triples. Portland has a bigger percentage of Millennials than the country and the rest of the state, and they'll have to face an increasingly expensive housing market. But while Portland may have more young people dealing with a longer slog into careers and house ownership, Lehner argues that the city's abundance of the young, hip and well-educated is, in the long run, a serious benefit to the city. "With such a large age cohort entering into this transition period, which may take a bit longer this time due to the lackluster economic recovery to date," he writes, "it does bode well for future economic activity over the coming decade or so." And while housing prices are rising, Lehner shows that it's not turning into a big boost for home construction. Jobs have been added, but the level of construction jobs has stayed pretty level since its 2008 nosedive.
Segmentarticle - July 22, 2013
Segmentarticle - Oct. 4, 2013
Economists with Portland State University's Northwest Economic Research Center have just released a report on how an Oregon tax on carbon (pdf) might work. The researchers based their scenarios on the carbon tax in British Columbia, which they implemented in 2008. The BC tax was designed to be "tax neutral," meaning other taxes were reduced as the carbon tax was implemented. There are currently four bills that deal with a carbon tax in the Oregon legislature. A spokesman for Associated Oregon Industries says it's too early to tell whether the business group would support or oppose those proposals. But John Charles with the Cascade Policy Institute says Oregon already taxes carbon and that further taxes would be unnecessary and harmful. Report co-author Jenny Liu says that their analysis shows an Oregon carbon tax could actually boost the economy.
Segmentarticle - March 12, 2013
Every week we gather a few local commentators to talk about some of the stories of the week — from the arts to sports to politics and more. Our guests tell us what they're thinking about and we ignite the conversation. The idea is to get a casual, but thoughtful, conversation going about the events and subjects that are being discussed in the cubicles, kitchens, and coffee shops of our region. This week we're talking about remix culture, the Nobel prize in physics, and the economics of underwear.
Segmentarticle - Oct. 10, 2012
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.
Segmentarticle - Jan. 30, 2013
For the final day of the Our Town tour this year, we head to southern Oregon: Lakeview and Roseburg. Lakeview The town of Lakeview sits in south-central Oregon a mere 15 miles from the California border. Residents can drive to Reno, Nevada in four hours — half the time it takes to get to Portland. Several schools, ranching, a mill, and a prison provide many jobs for the town. Additionally, natural resource industries are an integral part of Lakeview's economy. A natural gas pipeline finished construction last year, and PGE recently announced plans for its first commercial-scale solar power facility in Lakeview. The town has begun to embrace geothermal energy, though early attempts have sparked some controversy. The town was slated to be the site of an Iberdrola biomass plant, but low energy prices have put the project on hold indefinitely. Lakeview is also home to an FSC-certified timber operation. The surrounding area is known for its prime hang gliding and birding territory. As always, we've put together a companion website for Lakeview. Head over there to check out our interactive map which includes interviews and photographs of the people and places of Lakeview.
Segmentarticle - Dec. 28, 2012
This holiday week on Think Out Loud we're going to take you on a virtual tour of the state, highlighting some of our favorite moments from the Our Town series that we did this year. During the year we traveled to Astoria, Port Orford Camas, Woodburn, Warm Springs, Bend, La Pine, Monument, Baker City, Ontario, Lakeview and Roseburg. We begin, today, with the coastal towns: Astoria and Port Orford. Astoria Astoria is the oldest settlement in Oregon. In fact, the Chamber of Commerce is among those who regularly boast that it's the oldest American settlement west of the Rockies. When we visited last December, Astoria was wrapping up its bicentennial celebration. Astoria's traditional natural resources like fishing, canning and logging are no longer the main fuel in its economic engine. They've been supplemented by new businesses and industries. And although it's a working waterfront, where logs and other cargo are loaded and unloaded, it's also become a regular port of call for cruise ships. Sometimes as many as 3,000 cruise ship passengers will flood the town, wearing little identifying pins, so that the volunteer "Astoria Cruise Hosts" can help them navigate the town and find what they're looking for. You can find a map of Astoria and portraits of many people who live there on the Our Town companion website and here are some photos from the live show at Astoria's Historic Liberty Theatre: Port Orford Port Orford is the oldest town on Oregon's coast (though Astoria is the oldest settlement). Situated along Highway 101, Port Orford is just 62 miles from the California border. Fishing is big business in the town, just as it is in many coastal communities. Citizens launched a campaign earlier this year to "keep the port in Port Orford." The harbor is filled with sand, creating challenges for fishermen who use it on a daily basis. The Army Corps of Engineers said earlier this year that they can't afford to dredge the fishing port. Artists also play a significant role in the life of the town. There are eight galleries. (In a town of 1,150 people, that's roughly one gallery for every 144 residents.) Each one showcases the work of local artists working in a variety of media, from oil paints to metal sculptures and even scrimshaw. You'll find out much more about Port Orford on our companion website right here.
Segmentarticle - Dec. 24, 2012
We're exploring three very different towns in Central Oregon today: Warm Springs, Bend and La Pine. Warm Springs Warm Springs is the town at the center of much of the activity of the Warm Springs Reservation. It's where people gather for community events, where the elementary school is located, and where the Indian Head Casino and the tribal museum sit. The reservation is also home to hydroelectric and wind energy projects, as well as Warm Springs Composite Products, and the Kahneeta Resort. The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs is made up of members of the Wasco, Warm Springs and Paiute Indian tribes.These three tribes united in 1938. Now they're all working to keep their distinct cultures and languages alive, and to work together to improve the economic realities of tribal life in Warm Springs. Check out our companion website and this slideshow from the show we did there: Bend Most Oregonians are familiar with Bend, whether it's because of the biking, the beer, or the implosion of the real estate bubble that brought the economy to a halt. That infamous downturn led many here to christen Bend as a place to live in "poverty with a view." Bend saw the largest drop in house prices in the country. And Californians were no longer buying second homes in the region at the pace they were in the past. Now, a few years after the bust, the region is still struggling with high unemployment at over 10.9 percent and home prices are just beginning to turn around from the depths of the recession. But despite those economic difficulties, the town is still focused on growth. The brewing economy is rapidly expanding, and tourism is booming. We'll get an update on the housing realities in Bend in this segment. To hear the whole show and to see a slideshow and map of Bend, click here.
Segmentarticle - Dec. 26, 2012
Today we're bringing you highlights from the Our Town shows in eastern Oregon: Monument, Baker City and Ontario. Monument As part of the Our Town series, we're traveled to Monument. According to the 2010 census, this southeastern Oregon town on the John Day River has a population of 128. That doesn't include people who live in outlying areas who are also part of the community. Ranching is the primary source of employment for people in Monument. This website devoted to the town describes it as a place where wildlife is plentiful: Rocky mountain elk and mule deer are well know for coming down from the mountains and feeding in the local alfalfa fields and hay stacks. Steelhead spawn in the small creeks that feed into the John Day River, along with small mouth bass and trout. Occasionally, beavers, bald eagles, ospreys, badgers, rock chucks, geese, whooping cranes, antelopes, bobcats, cougars, coyotes and even a rattlesnake can be seen. People make all kinds of accommodations to live in a town like Monument. The closest doctor's office is 60 miles away in John Day. There's a small convenience store in town, but people do most of their grocery shopping elsewhere. One resident told us she drives to Bend — three or four hours away, depending on what route she takes — to shop at Costco once a month. You can learn much more about Monument, see a slideshow of the people and places, and listen to the whole show here. Here are some photos shot during the Think Out Loud taping at the Monument Senior Center:
Segmentarticle - Dec. 27, 2012
Whether you love or hate public opinion polls — or both — you won't want to miss the results of this broad-ranging survey Portland Monthly commissioned from long-time pollsters DHM. Why now? Editor-in-chief Randy Gragg has a answer for that: The answer is easy: at a time when all eyes are on Obama, Romney, Hales, and Smith—or, really, on a wishy-washy micro-minority who will decide who wins — we felt an urge (if not a desperate need) to step back, turn around, and look at the bigger us: in a sense, our neighbors. With the help of DHM Research, which has been polling Portland attitudes for 30 years, we asked some basic questions, such as: Who among us believes in a god, feels underpaid, spanks their kids? Who thinks the “creative economy” is real? And, of course, who’s having lots of sex—or none at all? Among the results: 64% believe (in something); 16% cheat; 57% spank; 87% would pull the plug. You can read the full results — with answers to more than 75 questions — in the October issue of Portland Monthly.
Segmentarticle - Sept. 26, 2012
Segmentarticle - Jan. 27, 2014
Segmentarticle - Jan. 21, 2014
Segmentarticle - Jan. 16, 2014
Segmentarticle - Jan. 9, 2014
Segmentarticle - Dec. 16, 2013
Segmentarticle - Dec. 16, 2013
Segmentarticle - Feb. 13, 2014
Segmentarticle - Feb. 20, 2014
Segmentarticle - Nov. 27, 2013
Segmentarticle - Nov. 18, 2013