Cover Oregon dominates today’s headlines; more signs of Oregon’s economic recovery.
Cover Oregon saga: the latest chapter. A U.S. House committee found the creation of Cover Oregon was mishandled and have requested a criminal investigation; Gov. John Kitzhaber says he and his staff were not involved in criminal wrongdoing. The committee’s report determined taxpayers money was used to fund the failed site — and that money is gone. Kitzhaber told The Statesman Journal the report simplifies the situation. Meanwhile, Oregon officials have decided to stick with the federal health exchange site in lieu of trying to start from scratch. The Portland Business Journal has more.
Manufacturing boost. Columbia County will soon benefit from $7.5 million in state funding to construct the Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center, aimed at supporting manufacturers and training new workers. The center is the first of its kind in the U.S., and will be located in Scappoose. Read more here.
Visitors ‘like’ Oregon. Nearly $11 billion was spent last year by Oregon tourists, according to report by Travel Oregon. Those numbers reflect a 4.8% increase in spending, with an even larger uptick in Central Oregon, where tourism increased by 6%. This is reportedly the largest increase in years for the region. The Bend Bulletin has more.
Seeking larger beehive. GloryBee, a natural foods producer in Eugene, has set its sights on a larger production facility. The company has purchased a $3.1 million facility from Weyerhaeuser and plans to double production once remodeling is complete sometime in 2018. The structure was once home to Weyerhaeuser’s building products division. It will instead be home to honey, coconut oil, and trail mix. Read more from the Register-Guard.
Expensive gossip. Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel has spent nearly $10 million funding a vendetta against Gawker Media. Outed as gay by the publication in 2007, Thiel argues the site ruined lives without reason. The New York Times reports he helped fund a suit on behalf of friend wrestler Hulk Hogan — who successfully sued Gawker for $140 million after the site published a sex tape. The billionaire said while he can defend himself, other potential victims don’t have the resources.
Clean beats dirty. For the first time, the number of clean energy jobs surpassed those in the fossil fuels. An International Renewable Energy Agency report found yesterday that the solar industry grew 12 times faster than U.S. job creation, while oil and gas producers cut employment by more than 350,000 positions. This shift toward clean energy is expected to continue, especially as states — including Oregon — pass legislation to phase out coal energy. Read more from Bloomberg.