Morning Roundup: Daimler loses discrimination suit; Portland misses Smart Cities bid

A day of losses in today’s news: Jury finds Daimler Trucks guilty of age discrimination, Portland loses Smart Cities bid and Union Pacific will resume oil transport.

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Daimler saga continues. A former engineering manager for Daimler Trucks North America won a $1.2 million age discrimination suit today. Josef Loczi, 57, asserted Dailmer fired him because of his age. Daimler CEO Martin Daum, whom we profiled in this month’s issue, testified that Loczi was fired because of his performance. The Oregonian reports Daimler was not allowed to defend itself against the age discrimination claim because the judge had sanctioned the company for acting in bad faith when it failed to hand over evidence to Loczi’s attorneys. A punitive damages trial has not yet been scheduled but is expected soon.

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Oil on track. Union Pacific will resume its crude oil transportation through the Columbia Gorge. Transportation officials called for a moratorium on oil trains last week, but Union Pacific officials say they will resume service anyway. It’s been three weeks since 16 cars derailed in Mosier spilling 42,000 gallons of oil, and forcing 100 people to evacuate due to the resulting fire. OPB has more.


The problem spreads. The housing crisis isn’t restricted to the Portland metro area. Prineville has a 0% vacancy rate. The Bend Bulletin reports construction workers building two data centers [one for Facebook and one for Apple] in Prineville are living in hotel rooms because there’s no where else to stay. About 17% of occupied hotel rooms are filled by construction workers.

Let the pot taxes begin. Just one day after we discussed the possibility of counties and cities in Oregon approving a 3% tax on recreational marijuana, Lane County has moved forward on sending the tax to voters. The Lane County Board of Commissioners gave a unanimous nod yesterday to the county tax. Read more from The Register-Guard.

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Test case. The Oregon Department of Education is considering a blanket rule, requiring all schools to test for lead and other contaminants in its water. Amidst concerns of contaminated water earlier this month, the DOE encouraged schools to test its water while students are on summer vacation, but the department doesn’t have the authority to require testing. This rule, if approved, would make Oregon the second state to require lead testing. New York was the first. The Statesman Journal has more.

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Transit dreams, dashed. The city of Portland lost its much anticipated bid for a $40 million Smart Cities grant. The city’s application for the federal grant included apps, and electric buses and a range of other smart transportation options. The Oregonian has more. In related news:  Seattle’s new subway is world class, says OB Editor Linda Baker. 


Consolidating an empire. Elon Musk has offered $3 billion from Tesla to buy SolarCity. Musk is the CEO of Tesla, and cofounder of SolarCity. The bid would bring together the two parts of his energy empire. Tesla produces battery packs and electric vehicles, while SolarCity focuses on solar cells for residential homes and businesses. Business Insider has more on the proposed deal.

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Software sale. In other trade news, Dell has agreed to sell its software division for more than $2 billion to Francisco Partners and Elliot Management. The sale will help Dell refocus its portfolio after the company purchased EMC Corp for $67 billion last year. Reuters has more.