Updates

  • Bend Business Roundup 3-8-19

    By on March 8, 2019

    Happy Friday,

    Here’s some stuff you might like.

    Business: The headline “Bend home sales drop to late-2007 level” makes those of us who were in Bend for the Great Recession rock back and forth while hugging ourselves. February home sales dropped to 106 for the month, down 34.5% from a year ago. Let’s hope this is a result of Snowmageddon 2.0, shall we?

    Law: If you think you are an independent contractor or employ independent contractors, there is a really good chance you actually are an employee or have employees under Oregon law. The state government and unions, to the degree one can meaningfully distinguish between those entities, really dislike independent contractors and have been waging a decades-long battle to make independent contractor relationships as rare as possible. A bill in the legislature, HB 2498, is the latest salvo. The bill states that someone who provides services for someone else cannot be an independent contractor if the services provided are in the usual course of the other person’s business. So, a personal trainer working at a gym might no longer be an independent contractor, etc.

    Politics: On August 22, 2018, Oregon Governor Kate Brown was in a tight re-election fight against challenger Knute Buehler. An independent group was running ads attacking Brown’s record on child care. On that date, a nine-month-old baby boy was found unconscious at a state-regulated daycare with a history of regulatory infractions in Lane County. Two days later, the baby died. On the date the baby died, the regulatory agency in charge of child care sent Brown’s office a proposed press statement regarding the death, consistent with prior state practice of disclosing such deaths “in a timely manner” as required by federal regulations. There were communications between the agency and the governor’s staff, the content of which was redacted from a public records production to the Oregonian, and no disclosure was made until the Oregonian recently inquired about the death. The state maintains that there’s nothing to see here – that the failure to disclose was justified under the law and was not politically motivated. However, the sequence of events as reported by the Oregonian indicates the failure to disclose may well have been politically motivated. If the legislature, which funds the relevant state agency and writes child care laws, does not undertake a real, bipartisan investigation of this tragedy, why do we have a legislature at all?

    Et cetera:  A month ago, I let you know about a new nonprofit called Local Voter Project, which raises money to buy introductory Bend Bulletin subscriptions for newly registered Bend voters. The purpose is to provide new voters the information they need to be involved in our local government and civic life, and to support local journalism of the type that uncovered the important story described in the section above. I am very grateful to the generous Bend Business Roundupers who contributed to the cause. We are planning to buy the first round of subscriptions toward the end of this month. We would love to buy 100 subscriptions, which would cost around $6,500. We have a ways to go to meet that goal. If you feel like helping out, you can donate here. Thank you!

    Your friends can sign up to receive the Bend Business Roundup here. No sales, no spam. Just the weekly email you’ve come to know and love.

    Have a great weekend!

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  • Bend Business Roundup 3-1-19

    By on March 2, 2019

    Happy Friday,

    Missed you last week, as our family was afflicted with a couple very sick toddlers (they’re fine now), and that’s why this email is weeky(ish)! Here’s some stuff you might like.

    Business: Anyone who’s looked at developing or redeveloping property knows that the cost of installing sidewalks can be quite a lot. City of Bend rules require installation of sidewalks whenever property is significantly redeveloped. Sometimes the cost of installing the sidewalks makes the project not feasible. And some neighborhoods without sidewalks don’t want “sidewalks to nowhere.” Well, the City is considering exempting some neighborhoods from the sidewalk obligation.

    Law: Well, the Oregon legislature has now passed and the governor has now signed the country’s first statewide rent control law. Rent control is a component, but for many residential landlords, the significant changes to evictions will be the more drastic change. And the law has an emergency clause so it went into effect immediately because in Oregon destroying the ability of adults to contract with each other is an emergency. If you are a residential landlord you NEED to figure out what the law requires, immediately, or you could be facing claims for damages, penalties and attorney fees. This article is a good place to start.

    Politics: The Oregon legislature does a lot of bad things, but the House did a good thing this week by passing, unanimously, a bill to allow Redmond to develop 485 units of affordable housing. Local Rep Jack Zika (who lives in Redmond) spearheaded the bill. While this is the right move, it’s a reminder that one of the reasons Oregon has an affordable housing problem is that it takes an act of the legislature to allow for the development of more housing.

    Et cetera:  My senior year at Mountain View High School was 1992-93, when some old-timers may remember Bend got hammered with snow. The school held a snow sculpture contest on the football field and I and my fellow painfully dorky friends sculpted a miniature U.S. Capitol Building. We came in second place and were recognized at a school assembly so that everyone in school was reminded that we were nerds.

    Your friends can sign up to receive the Bend Business Roundup here. No sales, no spam. Just the weekly email you’ve come to know and love.

    Have a great weekend!

    Read more
  • Bend Business Roundup 2-15-19

    By on February 15, 2019

    Happy Friday,

    Here’s some stuff you might like.

    Business: Pitchers and catchers have reported for Major League Baseball spring training, which means that warmer weather is coming (**looks at three-foot snow berm outside office window, sighs**). MLB teams are valuable things, with the New York Yankees, shockingly, the most valuable at $4 billion.  My Mariners are exactly middle of the pack at 15.

    Law: Oregon is, notoriously, likely to become the first state in the U.S. with statewide rent control. Less known is the fact that the rent control bill, SB 608, precludes landlords from terminating a month-to-month tenancy after the first year without cause, except under certain circumstances. The bill also, bizarrely, institutes notice requirements for termination of a fixed term tenancy. A landlord will need to give notice to a tenant who has signed a lease agreement stating that the tenancy terminates on X date notice that the tenancy actually really does terminate on X date or the tenancy doesn’t lawfully terminate on X date. This is crazy and suggests that the Oregon Senate (which has passed the bill) believes residential tenants are incapable of being party to binding legal agreements. What a complete mess.

    Politics: Bend City Council positions are, in theory, non-partisan. “Republican” or “Democrat” does not appear on the ballot next to Council candidates’ names. But, of course, the actual councilors who hold these positions typically are registered to vote in the primaries of one of those two major parties. Also, in practice, Bend City Council elections and many of the votes taken on Council are pretty partisan. The increasingly partisan nature of City Council politics was on display  Valentine’s evening when Mayor Sally Russell (a Democrat) spent an hour before an “aggressive, angry room” of apparently not romantically inclined Deschutes County Democrats who were mad at Russell for voting to appoint Chris Piper, a Republican, to a recent Council vacancy. Russell said she’s been “bullied” by people who were upset at her choice. The Council is non-partisan only to the degree that insiders and activists like those who spend their Valentine’s evening attending Deschutes Democrat meetings, and their mirror images on the other side, are the only ones who know it’s actually a really partisan game.

    Et cetera:  Yesterday was Oregon’s 160th birthday, and there were facts shared about Oregon, most of which were boring. One caught my eye, though. It turns out the largest living organism in the entire world (and I guess the entire known universe since we’ve not yet found life off this planet) is located right here in Oregon. It’s a giant fungus that occupies about four square miles (!) of the Blue Mountains in the Malheur National Forest east of Bend.

    Your friends can sign up to receive the Bend Business Roundup here. No sales, no spam. Just the weekly email you’ve come to know and love.

    Have a great weekend!

    Read more
  • Bend Business Roundup 2-8-19

    By on February 8, 2019

    Happy Friday,

    Here’s some stuff you might like.

    Business: Longtime readers know that we sometimes like to remind ourselves that, economically speaking, these are the good old days in Bend. Another entry: the Milken Institute for the third year in a row named Bend the (economically) best-performing small city in America. Strong job and wage growth as well as progress in tech and biotech entrepreneurship kept Bend in the top spot.

    Law: Maybe nothing typifies the transition of Bend from a mill town to a tourist and lifestyle city than the dispute relating to events held at the Century Center on the west side of town. The Century Center used to be a mill, and now it houses Good Life Brewing and a host of other eating, drinking and retail establishments. Century Center (or its tenants) hold quite a few events, like concerts, and homeowners around the Center appealed to the City Council to limit the number of special events there. The Council obliged, on a 4-3 vote, and Century Center sued the city, asking the court to overturn the city’s decision (on interesting legal grounds I won’t get into here). Anyway, the judge this week dismissed the suit, which means the city’s limit on special events stands.

    Politics:  Local politics in Bend tend to swing between “My God we have no jobs and everyone is moving out of town we need a more vibrant economy” (see, e.g., 2008-2012) and “My God who are all these people moving here who don’t know how to drive in roundabouts” (see, e.g., now). Hubbell Communications and the Bend Chamber recently released a report about Bend residents’ views about growth, and it turns out 56% of respondents said that “Bend is attracting the wrong people, ideas and vision – and that newcomers will only make the problem worse.”  The kicker? That view was held by all demographic groups, including residents who had moved to Bend in the last year who apparently believe THEY are the wrong people which makes us wonder just who are the right people?

    Et cetera:  Portland is forecast to receive 1 – 3 inches of snow this weekend and while no shelter in place order has (yet) been issued, area drivers are urged to prepare for the oncoming apocalypse. Drivers should stock an emergency kit in their cars  that includes a small shovel, a “warming device” (?) and an ice scraper. Drivers are urged to “dress warm,” because when it’s snowing outside that’s important, and to “gather momentum” before driving up a hill. Our thoughts and prayers are with the good people of Portland.

    Your friends can sign up to receive the Bend Business Roundup here. No sales, no spam. Just the weekly email you’ve come to know and love.

    Have a great weekend!

    Read more
  • Bend Business Roundup 2-1-19

    By on February 1, 2019

    Happy Friday,

    Here’s some stuff you might like.

    Business: Believe it or not, entrepreneurs registered 3,530 new businesses in Bend in 2018, an 8% increase over 2017.  That’s more businesses registered than in any other city in the state other than Portland. More impressively, it’s one new business registered in 2018 for every 26 residents of Bend, including children and people morally opposed to starting businesses. The per capita registration rate is by far the highest in Oregon among at least decent-sized cities. Bend really has become the entrepreneurial epicenter of Oregon.

    Law: A conversation I’ve had a lot with business clients lately: if you have an employee handbook, you better make sure that you are following it or amend it so that it’s something you can/will follow. For example, if the handbook says that you will give an employee a warning before terminating for poor performance, and you terminate her for poor performance without such a warning, and she ends up alleging that you terminated her for an unlawful, discriminatory reason, you’ve handed her attorney a very significant weapon in the forthcoming litigation. Also, it hopefully goes without saying, don’t terminate someone for an unlawful, discriminatory reason!

    Politics: So, I try to keep things non-partisan around here. I’m a Republican but I like Democrats and others too, and in our current political environment anything remotely partisan can really cause a mess. Nonetheless, I think I should share an op-ed I wrote in the Bend Bulletin this week, in which I compare being an Oregon Republican to being a Seattle Mariners fan (hint, they both lose a lot), and urge my fellow Republicans to focus on solving Oregonians’ real problems as a way out of the political wilderness.

    Et cetera (and an ask):  There’s a category of long-term social or cultural trends that I occasionally worry about, but usually don’t believe I can do much to help address. For example, the growing prevalence of man buns. A more serious trend that I’ve decided to try to do my small bit to reverse is the withering of citizens’ connection with local institutions and governance. The national, federal and sensational is replacing the local and tangible in the minds of many voters. This, coupled with the withering of local newspapers, which provide the bulk of in-depth local coverage in many communities has created a vicious cycle of diminishing civic engagement. So, I started a nonprofit called Local Voter Project that will buy Bend Bulletin subscriptions for newly registered Bend voters. The goal is to help connect these folks with local issues and drive better participation in local government, politics and civic organizations while supporting local journalism. If contributing to the cause is of interest to you, please check out this donation page, and of course feel free to email me back if you have any questions. Thank you!

    Your friends can sign up to receive the Bend Business Roundup here. No sales, no spam. Just the weekly email you’ve come to know and love.

    Have a great weekend!

    Read more
  • Bend Entrepreneur Report – 2018 Annual Report

    By on January 31, 2019

    Bend Entrepreneur Report – 2018 Annual Report

    2018 Bend Business Registrations Up 8 % Over 2017

    Bend Leads Large Oregon Cities in Registrations Per Population

    In 2018, Bend, Oregon entrepreneurs continued to register businesses at a breakneck pace. Oregon Secretary of State records compiled by Bend business law firm, EagerLaw PC, throughout 2018 show that entrepreneurs registered 3,530 new businesses in Bend during the year, up from 3,267 in 2017 – an 8% increase.

    There were more businesses registered in Bend in 2018 than in any city in Oregon, other than Portland. More businesses were registered in Bend than in Salem, Eugene, Gresham, Hillsboro, and Beaverton, all of which have larger populations than Bend. Entrepreneurs registered one business for every 26 residents of Bend during 2018, the most registrations per capita of any medium or large city in the state.

    Bend is truly the shining jewel of entrepreneurism in Oregon. It is enjoying a period of economic growth unseen in recent memory. The registration of so many new businesses, and of many different types, should help to continue to diversify the local economy.

    EagerLaw PC compiles new Secretary of State new business registrations and issues the monthly Bend Entrepreneur Report.

    Read more