Updates

  • 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!

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  • 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.

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  • Bend Business Roundup 1-25-19

    By on January 25, 2019

    Happy Friday,

    Here’s some stuff you might like.

    Business: If you’re looking for a new and, ah, unique beach vacation spot, Kim Jong-Un’s got just the place. North Korea is planning a new beach resort, and we’ll just let CNN sum things up for you: “The tourist zone is in an area that’s simultaneously been used for ballistic missile launches and, in April 2017, what state media describes as North Korea’s largest ever artillery drill.” Sounds nice.

    Law: Sexual harassment claims are very serious and expensive things for employers and horrendous for the harassment victims. It’s important for employers to remember that they may be liable for employee-to-employee harassment, i.e. not by ownership or management, if the employer knew or should have known about the harassment. My law school classmate Diane Buisman has a helpful piece in Oregon Business describing some steps for employers to help stop harassment and to minimize their liability.

    Politics: If aliens landed in Oregon and inquired as to the state’s finances, they would learn that Oregon’s strong economy is throwing off more state tax revenue than ever before. They would also learn, to their surprise and confusion, that Oregon at the same time is challenged to balance its budget in this biennium, and is likely to seek yet more tax revenue to do so. Then they would see that Oregon might do away with the recently enacted and money-saving prohibition on the state paying for more than one employee insurance policy covering the same family and they would shake their heads and promptly get back in their space ship and go someplace more sane.

    Et cetera aka Portland’s sometimes fascination with authoritarian regimes and art reminiscent of authoritarian regimes:  A couple weeks ago, we reported on a really weird Pyongyangesque memorial to Teddy Roosevelt that graced Portland’s waterfront in the 1930s. This week, we couldn’t pass up a report from the Oregon Historical Society of the widespread (though not quite unanimous) support from the Portland public and city government for German sailors visiting the Rose City aboard the Nazi cruiser Emden in 1936. The sailors paraded through downtown Portland. Some of the human rights atrocities of the Nazis was known at the time, and five years later, of course, the U.S. was at war with Nazi Germany (Thanks to BBR reader Kurt Bennett for this tip).

    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 1-18-19

    By on January 18, 2019

    Neil Goldschmidt

    Happy Friday,

    Here’s some stuff you might like.

    Business: Back in 1986, Gov. Neil Goldschmidt called Bend “the middle of nowhere.” One reason Bend feels less nowhere (more somewhere?) than it did back then is because the internet allows people to work remotely from the middle of nowhere. According to the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis, the Bend Metropolitan Statistical Area (which is all of Deschutes County) is the “work from home capitol of America,” with the highest rate of working from home of any MSA in the country.

    Law: Oregon’s new Pay Equity Act mostly went into effect on January 1. If you employ people in Oregon, it’s a really good idea to check out this BOLI site to learn what is required under the law. The Act’s requirements are somewhat onerous and there’s significant liability for not following them.

    Politics: Liberal/progressive candidates swept Bend City Council elections last November. Newly elected Mayor Sally Russell vacated her Council seat to become mayor, so the Council needed to appoint someone to take that seat. With a 4-2 left-leaning majority, the expectation was that they’d appoint another progressive. Well, for reasons I have yet to fully understand, they instead appointed Republican Chris Piper. It’s hard to believe that some people pay me to do political stuff given how often I’m surprised by political events.

    Et cetera:  Local newspapers are, slowly, dying. Western Communications, the parent company for the Bend Bulletin and six other newspapers in mostly more middle of nowhere places throughout the West, is struggling to pay its property tax obligations. This reportedly follows paying employees late and other indicators of financial trouble. I hope Western Communications and other local newspaper owners are able to figure out how to make it financially in the internet age. They’re the only ones who reliably cover local government activity, which over Western’s service area must equate to well over a billion dollars of tax revenue and enormous regulatory authority. If the newspapers go, the public will be even more poorly informed about local goings on than they are already.

    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 1-11-19

    By on January 11, 2019

    Here’s some stuff you might like.

    Business: Would you live in 1916 America for $1 billion? An economist reasoned that he would not, because in 1916 there just wasn’t many of the things that we now take for granted, like anitbiotics, air conditioning, good dental care, and if you happen to be a woman or a minority, unfettered or in some cases any right to vote. Accordingly, the economist reasoned that he, as a middle class American in modern times, is actually wealthier than J.D. Rockefeller, the early 20th century and very wealthy oil baron.

    Law: Oregon has a whole lot of state licensure boards that regulate certain professions from licensed professional counselors to engineers. Among other things, these boards try to keep people who aren’t licensed from holding themselves out as being licensed. Well, Allen Alley, a Republican, described himself as an engineer in his short-lived gubernatorial candidacy in 2016. Alley has an engineering degree and was an accomplished practicing engineer for companies like Ford and Boeing, but he is not a licensed engineer in Oregon. Someone complained, and the board investigated. In the meantime, a separate federal case came out against the board taking this kind of enforcement action, at least in part on the grounds that the board is infringing on the free speech rights of people to say they’re engineers when they are in fact at least arguably engineers. Despite the ruling, a board employee earlier this week sent Alley an email indicating the investigation was pushing forward. Alley objected, and the board has now dropped the investigation and put the employee on leave.

    Politics: One of the reasons housing is expensive in certain parts of Oregon, including Bend, is that our land use laws are favorable to those who object to building stuff. Neighbors object to projects, and sometimes those projects don’t get built, and we have less housing than we otherwise would, and what housing we do have is therefore more expensive. Someone’s proposed an apartment building near the river in Bend, and the usual cast of opponents came out to pack a hearing room. But something that’s new is a group that calls themselves YIMBYs (Yes in My Back Yard); they showed up to argue in favor of the development, for the reason that it would help reduce rent prices in Bend. Usually these disputes are developer vs. everyone else, but the YIMBYs change that dynamic a bit.

    Et cetera:  Between 1939 and 1942 the Portland waterfront was home to a huge and strangely Soviet-looking memorial to Teddy Roosevelt. Critics at the time thought it looked fascist, and with World War II underway, the statue just kind of went away. The statue, which looks like something one might find in Pyongyang, North Korea, also shared a certain early 20th century authoritarian aesthetic with the Oregon Capitol Building, which was built around the same time and of course still stands.

    Do you want the weekly-ish Bend Business Roundup delivered to your inbox on Fridays? Sign up here. No sales, no spam. Just a weekly roundup of business, law, and politics in Bend.

    Have a great weekend!

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