In today’s news, the OFDW looks at new funding options, the minority wage gap widens and housing-strapped Bend loses a mixed-use development.
1. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is considering two new revenue streams.
Despite a rise in outdoor recreation, the agency needs an additional $79.9 million per biennium, according to the Portland Tribune. Funding for the ODFW comes from federal and state budgets, as well as the sale of hunting and fishing licenses. However, the number of licenses sold is down. OB columnist Matt Alford wrote about this issue last week. To compensate for this downturn in funding, a special task force has proposed two tax surcharges. The first option is a 2.02% tax on bottles. The second is a 0.7% income tax.
2. New report finds income gap between white, black workers has widened
The Economic Policy Institute reports the wage gap is the widest it’s been in 36 years. Young black women are hit the hardest by the gap, which is fueled by discrimination, according to the Statesman Journal. Women make 34.2% less than white men with similar education and training, and black men make an average of 22% less.
3. Bend housing development proposal withdrawn
A 15-acre housing development in Bend has been postponed indefinitely. The developer, which had partnered with Central Oregon Community College, withdrew its application to change the property’s zone this week. The Bend Bulletin reports the plan was criticized by more than 1,000 residents living near the property, despite the need for additional housing in Bend. The developer said it will now consider other options.
4. Applegate activists vow to appeal BLM timber sale
The Bureau of Land Management project would cut 5 million board feet of timber from 1,112 acres. The Applegate Neighborhood Network, a Medford community group, suggested limiting cuts to 1 million board feet. The Mail Tribune reports residents feel the BLM “gave [them] the finger.”
5. Conservation projects in Central, Southern Oregon receive federal grants
A total of $2.2 million in funding from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was awarded to the Deschutes Basin, the Rogue River Recovery Land Acquisition and the Mountcrest Working Forest Conservation Easement. The Bend Bulletin reports Oregon’s cut is part of $45 million awarded from the Endangered Species Act grant program. The funds will improve habitats for the spotted frog in the Deschutes Basin, birds on the Rogue River and the northern spotted owl at Mountcrest.
6. OEN names most promising entrepreneur
Tyrone Poole was named the most promising tech entrepreneur by the Oregon Entrepreneurs Network. Poole started NoAppFee, a startup that helps tenants find housing. The Oregonian reports Poole started the company after experiencing the issue himself living on the streets in Portland. The company screens renters against all market vacancies, which eliminates application fees for those who cannot afford the cost.
7. Newly rebuilt mall listed for sale
Springfield’s Gateway Mall recently benefited from a $45 million renovation. But the Register Guard reports the mall is now for sale. The mall’s owner, Rouse Properties, was purchased earlier this year by New York-based Brookfield Asset Management.
8. Short take: A conversation with Rick Abel, head of development and retention for the Klamath County Economic Development Association
Oregon Business spoke to Abel about the recent Rural Business Summit in Klamath Falls.