Morning Roundup: Portland housing solution sparks lawsuits; Marijuana tourism in Bend

In today’s OB news roundup, Portland homeless housing problem sparks lawsuits, Bend dabbles in marijuana tourism and Amazon tests adjusted work week.

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1. Homeless housing battle pushes on

Portland’s City Council approved a lease of Terminal 1 for a temporary homeless shelter earlier this month, but businesses say they haven’t given up the fight. The Portland Tribune reports Portland Harbor businesses — operating as the Working Waterfront Coalition — intend to challenge the decision in front of the Land Use Board of Appeals. WWC isn’t alone in challenging the decision. Attorney John DiLorenzo has also filed suit on behalf of residents who allege the council has been mischarging rate payers for the property.

Meanwhile, the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners has revived a proposal to transition the empty Wapato jail into housing for 525 people. The Oregonian estimates place the project at early $1 million upfront, and about $150,000 monthly for upkeep.

2. Consumers may see a run on bottle returns

When Oregon’s bottle deposit doubles in April — from 5 to 10 cents — deposits will rival beverage prices. Water bottles, for example, average $2.50 for a 24 pack. The deposit on that pack? $2.40. The Bend Bulletin explains how this change could increase bottle returns.

3. Next year’s eclipse is having an unexpected impact on Oregon tourism

As the Statesman Journal reports, Salem is not only the first state capital in the path of the Aug. 21, 2017 total solar eclipse, it’s also the largest metro area in the path. A year out from the event, hotels are already booked to capacity. 

4. Meanwhile in Bend, marijuana is the talk of the town

The city will soon host its first marijuana tour in a six-seat electric car. The Bend Bulletin reports marijuana tourism is rivaling that of kayaking and brewpubs. The Bend Tour Co. experience will not only allow tourists to purchase marijuana on the tour, but provide an educational discussion on the changing laws. 

5. Portland will host a different kind of drive tourism

Thanks to a $1 million Department of Energy grant, Drive Oregon will open a Portland EV showroom at the World Trade Center. The Portland Business Journal reports the three-year grant could help the Northwest double its electric vehicle adoption rates. 

6. Amazon tries adjusted work week

The tech giant announced it’s starting a pilot program to test a 30 hour work week for select employees. Fortune reports the program is intended to foster growth within a reduced schedule. Amazon’s move isn’t a surprise, however. Employers have started discussing a reduction of work hours, and employees are advocating for more time off. 

In other Amazon news, Portland will benefit from additional Amazon Lockers — at Plaid Pantry locations. The Oregonian reports the lockers will allow customers to pick up packages from the secured location rather than risk a porch-side delivery.

7. Kevin Hart lauds Hood to Coast

The 36th annual relay race spanning 198-miles wrapped up Saturday. The comedian said although it was his first time participating, he can’t wait to do it over again.

8. School begins today for most of Portland

The state’s largest school district, Portland Public Schools, welcomed the return of thousands of its students this morning. All except those attending Roosevelt High School which was recently remodeled. The Oregonian reports those students should return to school tomorrow after teachers have had a ay to settle in.