Bend Business Roundup 4-12-19

Bend Business Roundup 4-12-19

Happy Friday,

Here’s some stuff you might like.

Business: Many of us who lived through the rapid rise of housing prices in Central Oregon in the mid-2000s , followed by the even more rapid plummet in the Great Recession, have viewed the price increases we’ve seen since around 2012 with some suspicion. Happy things are better; scared that we’re being set up for another fall. The good news, state regional economist Damon Runberg says, is that we are not in another bubble. Unlike the last run-up in prices, this one is based on real housing demand, not speculation. The bad news?  We aren’t building nearly enough housing units to keep up with new residents let alone fill the backlog. Builders lack sufficient labor and land to build enough housing units to keep pace.

Law: Sometimes the law works the way you’d think; sometimes it doesn’t. One aspect of the law that I’ve found surprises some clients, even pretty sophisticated business clients, is that in Oregon, unless a statute or contract provides otherwise, each party to litigation pays its own attorney fees, regardless of the outcome of the case. So if you’re sued by someone and win, even if the case appears to have been mostly baseless, absent an applicable statute or contract to the contrary, you’re paying your own legal fees. This is called the “American rule,” whereas a system that defaults to awarding attorney fees to the winner is called the “English rule.” So you can blame George Washington et al. if you end up in the situation described above.

Politics: You may have noticed some restaurants (and maybe bars, but I would never enter into such dens of iniquity so I don’t know, thank you very much) are switching from plastic to other types of straws. Invariably, the non-plastic straws are worse than the plastic kind for performing the job of straws, but the plastic kind, we are told, are bad for animals and don’t decompose, etc. Well, the Oregon Senate believes the pace of change is insufficient, and has passed a bill that forbids restaurants and convenience stores from dispensing single-use plastic straws to customers unless the customer asks for one. In its present form, the bill does not require the customer to say “pretty please” while asking, but we’ll see what happens in the House.

Et cetera:  Beginning in, say, the 1970s it was common to believe that the rapidly increasing global human population would so deplete the Earth’s resources that people would lack food and fuel, causing all kinds of social strife. Well, it turns out the opposite has happened. In fact, as population increased by 69% from 1980 to 2017, inflation-adjusted resource prices actually fell by 36%.  It is worth noting that in that same timeframe billions of people in eastern Europe and China stopped living under purely communist regimes and starting living in more or less market capitalist regimes. It turns out more people – even lots more people – living freely makes resources more abundant for all of us.

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Have a great weekend!

Jeff started EagerLaw PC to help Oregon entrepreneurs succeed in business. Jeff worked in Washington, D.C. for Oregon Congressman Greg Walden, served as Mayor of the City of Bend, and has been practicing law in Oregon for over a decade. Jeff believes strongly in entrepreneurship and enjoys making the legal side of business transparent and easy for his clients.

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