Bend Business Roundup 3-6-20

Bend Business Roundup 3-6-20

Happy Friday,

Here’s some stuff you might like.

Business: For the third year in a row, the Milken Institute has named the Bend-Redmond Metropolitan Statistical Area/megalopolis (it’s not really a megalopolis but I like that word) the best-performing small city in the U.S. Factors influencing the ranking include wage growth and job growth.

Law: I’m not a doctor because the dissection of a fetal pig in Mr. Campagna’s 10th grade biology class was plenty for me and math is hard, but some folks have asked me what small businesses need to be aware of legally in relation to the Coronavirus. This piece, by Lane Powell’s Long Term Care & Senior Living lawyers, goes into detail for the highly regulated and virus-susceptible long term care industry. For other types of businesses, here are a few thoughts:

1. The business could be liable if you know or should know that someone (customer, employee, etc.) at your business has Coronavirus, and you don’t do anything to protect others from getting sick and they get sick or worse. If you have reason to believe that someone in your business has Coronavirus take reasonable steps to protect others from getting sick, such as by asking the infected person to stay home or leave and consulting with a doctor about how to render the workplace safe again, e.g. by cleaning, etc. Err on the side of caution.

2. Because infections are still newsworthy, if someone associated with your business gets the virus, you will likely be contacted by health workers and the media. Keep in mind that if the infected person is an employee, you are still subject to employee health confidentiality rules and it’s best not to comment about an employee’s health. If you think an employee has the Coronavirus but the employee has not told you he or she has it, talk to your lawyer before you inquire with the employee.

3. If you’re sending employees to areas with known infections, consider cancelling or postponing the trip. If you tell them to go to a place you know or should creates an unreasonable risk of infection, and they get sick, you could be liable.

Politics: If you’re a political nerd (and if you’re reading this you just might be, you know), this has been a big week. The Oregon legislature ended its session early following a Republican walkout and the Democrats’ insistence that the price of re-admission to the capitol was a vote on cap and trade. I’ve beaten this one to death, so I’ll make this short: I think the failure of a bill that would significantly increase costs for Oregon families while having no impact on the climate is a good thing.

Another piece of good news: Democratic presidential primary voters appear to be in the process of rejecting socialist Bernie Sanders, an outcome that a week ago looked unlikely. While I don’t think Sanders would win the presidency if nominated (and presumably a lot of Dems voting against him think the same thing), the prospect of something approaching half the country rallying around socialism, even in a losing effort, would be really bad. In our negatively polarized national politics (i.e., an enemy of my enemy is my friend regardless of how unpleasant that friend is), lots of people who dislike Donald Trump would probably get dragged closer to or outright accept the premise that we should ditch capitalism in favor of a lot more government ownership of our stuff and control over our lives.

Anyway, thanks Democrats. Keep it up.

Et cetera:  Have you seen the sitcom “Modern Family?” An actor named Ty Burrell played the central role of the dad in the show, and was born in Grants Pass, Oregon (home of the not particularly modern-sounding “Caveman” or “Cavemen” high school mascot) and grew up in Southern Oregon. Burrell was recently on Steve Colbert’s show and said about Oregonians, “The most remarkable thing about Oregonians is how unremarkable the accent is . . . . We’re basically a state of newscasters.”

I’ve heard of this before, including when I lived in DC, where one hears lots of accents from around the country. If it’s true that we PNWers have no accent, which is to say a manner of speaking with the least identifiable regional “sound,” I wonder why? We are about as far-removed from the culture- (and one presumes accent) defining media cities as you can be. You’d think we’d have our own very weird dialect and accent up here. Maybe we just all learned to speak English by watching the news, or we adopted the least-distinct manner of speaking so as not to draw undue attention to ourselves in that shy-ish Northwest style.

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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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