Morning Roundup: PSU students design development site; Rural Business Summit starts today

In today’s news, students design Portland’s largest downtown development, the Rural Business Summit starts today and Oregon schools top Best College list. 

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1. Post Office site development in the hands of students

The Portland Development Commission had been trying to purchase the U.S. Post Office site in the Pearl District for years. Once that sale was finally made earlier this year for $88 million, plans for the 14-acre site were fuzzy. The Portland Business Journal reports the design for the largest downtown development is now in the hands of students at Portland State University. Nine students from the Master of Real Estate Development program have been working with the PDC on a proposal. That proposal, named Union Park, would reportedly link the Pearl District with Chinatown. 

2. The Rural Business and Innovation Summit starts today

The Summit is being held in Klamath County thanks to a partnership between the Klamath County Economic Development Association and the Klamath Chamber of Commerce. The rural summit provides an opportunity for business to benefit from state and regional experts. Find out more here.

3. Oregon schools make Best College list

Oregon universities and colleges fared well on this year’s Best College Rankings list released by U.S. News & World Report. The Oregon Institute of Technology took the No. 1 slot for Public Western Regional Colleges, as well as No. 5 in the Best Western Regional Colleges list. On the top business programs list, the University of Portland ranked No. 150, with Portland State following at No. 184. The Portland Business Journal has more on Oregon rankings.

4. Job growth continues in Oregon for 50th month

New data from the Oregon Employment Department shows Oregon has boosted job growth 50 consecutive months. That’s the longest growth streak since the department began tracking comparable metrics in 1990, according to the Oregonian. Oregon also added jobs at nearly twice the national rate, averaging 3.3% over the past year. The unemployment rate, however, increased from 5.2% to 5.4% this month as workers continue to return to the labor force.

5. Accelerator expanding to coastal region

Oregon RAIN (Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network) is expanding its entrepreneur services to the coast. The nonprofit recently announced funding for a new position titled “Coastal Venture Catalyst.” The Register-Guard reports local economic development programs are excited for the opportunity to grow local startups.

6. In other startup news, the Bend Venture Conference has announced its semifinalists.

Twenty-six companies are competing for a spot in the Conference, which is scheduled for Oct. 13-14. The Bend Bulletin reports the semifinalists are broken up into three categories: Early Stage, Growth Stage and Social Impact Track. Five finalists will be chosen from the Early and Growth Stage categories to compete in the Conference, and three or four will be selected from the Social Impact group.

7. CenturyLink to expand fiber service

Portland may not be getting Google Fiber any time soon, but the St. Johns neighborhood will get a fiber service of its own. The Oregonian reports CenturyLink is moving forward with plans to offer the fiber-optic service by this fall for about 5,500 customers. 

8. Ebb and Flow: Woodburn fruit processing plant is closing

Check out this week’s list of business openings and closings, as well as new hires, fires and promotions.