Editor’s Letter: Tortoise and the Hare


The day after this issue goes to press, the city of Medford will host its annual business conference. The event features Minoli Ratnatunga, co-author of the Milken Institute’s annual “Best-Performing Cities” report. Preliminary data suggests that Medford is likely to retain its No. 1 ranking among best-performing small cities for having a higher concentration of high-tech firms than the national average. 

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The day after this issue goes to press, the city of Medford will host its annual business conference. The event features Minoli Ratnatunga, co-author of the Milken Institute’s annual “Best-Performing Cities” report. Preliminary data suggests that Medford is likely to retain its No. 1 ranking among best-performing small cities for having a higher concentration of high-tech firms than the national average. 

These firms include Coding Zeal, an app developer and designer of web and mobile products; Carestream, a worldwide provider of medical and dental imaging systems and IT solutions; and Linx Technologies, a developer and manufacturer of wireless products.

Medford’s economic engine is humming. But this Southern Oregon city also gets a bad rap for its uninspired downtown and is often compared unfavorably to its more glamorous neighbors, Ashland and Jacksonville. But as writer Dan Cook reports, the central core is coming alive, in part because of the development efforts of two local businessmen: Lithia Motors vice president Mark DeBoer and Ashland developer Doug Neuman. After 30 years of planning and investment, this Southern Oregon town may soon become a destination for tourists and locals alike.

Medford moves slowly, but the rest of the world is evolving at lightning speed. The precipitous drop in oil prices over the past few months has shocked industry analysts and pundits alike, and many business leaders and policymakers are grappling with the challenges and the opportunities. 

In Oregon the decline in gas prices may lend momentum to two revenue increases to be debated in the 2015 legislature: a bump in the state fuel tax to fund sorely needed transportation projects, and a carbon tax designed to reduce greenhouse emissions and accelerate the state’s green economy. Research editor Kim Moore reports on Oregon emissions pricing schemes — the winners, the losers and chances of implementation. 

The world of publishing is also experiencing rapid-fire change. To stay current, we are unveiling a magazine redesign led by art director Chris Noble. It’s a clean but layered aesthetic we hope captures our in-depth, connect-the-dots approach to business news. Along with new lifestyle coverage, the redesign also features a more playful, ironic sensibility we think offers a good check on the marketing and “digital storytelling” publications many companies now produce and distribute on social media. 

Oregon Business documents game-changing individuals, technologies and trends. But we are well aware of the hype and misinformation that accompany an age of disruption and innovation. Slow and steady often wins the race. Medford, for one, is counting on it. 

— Linda