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Oregon's Unions And Businesses Unite For Knight Cancer Challenge

Business and unions are often found at opposite ends of an issue.  But Phil Knight’s $500 million challenge to cure cancer appears to have united the old foes.

Kristian Foden-Vencil/OPB

Last year, the Nike founder said he’d put up half a billion dollars for a cancer institute at OHSU — if the medical school could raise another half billion.

OHSU has been frantically fund raising ever since and has less than $70 million to go.

Now groups like the Oregon Business Council and Associated Oregon Industries are coming together with their traditional competitors AFSCME and the AFL-CIO.

Brian Gard, the former chair of the Oregon Business Association, admits it’s a little strange.

“As I think you well know in the past there have been some disputes between labor and business, this is an arena where there shouldn’t be any disputes,” Gard said.

Gard says he’s not sure if the business-labor coalition will be able to raise the remaining $70 million. But he says, their primary goal is to increase participation in the challenge.

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