Elliott Forest sale put on hold, Measure 97 backers unveil new proposal and Union Pacific to appeal Mosier rail expansion.
1. State delays Elliott Forest sale
The Oregon State Land Use Board held a public hearing on the proposed forest land sale yesterday attended by more than 200 people. As a result, the board and Gov. Kate Brown opted to pursue a legislative option to keep the forest publicly owned, the Statesman Journal reports. The land use board was reviewing an offer from Roseburg’s Lone Rock Timber Management Company to purchase the 82,500-acre property near Coos Bay for $220 million. Lone Rock Timber had proposed to partner with the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians to purchase and manage the forest lands. The sale could still move forward, but a public option will be explored before the next board meeting Feb. 14, 2017.
2. New proposal from Measure 97 backers
A Better Oregon, the main group backing the failed corporate tax measure, unveiled a new tax plan this week, OPB reports. The main changes include a lower tax rate and an increased minimum threshold to more than $100 million in annual sales. Spokespeople say the voters had a problem with the specifics of M97, not the tax itself. The revised plan — which estimates biennium revenues of $4 billion — could go before the legislature next session.
3. Union Pacific will appeal block of Mosier rail expansion
The Wasco County Commission denied the proposed rail expansion in November citing its affect on the Yakima Nation’s tribal rights. The Yakima Nation had argued increased rail traffic would decrease access to fishing sites. Mosier is also still recovering from an oil train development this summer. Union Pacific Railroad filed its official notice of appeal last week, OPB reports.
4. Nike in the news: Two days after launching a spot on ad campaign, Nike hit with new report detailing wage theft, verbal abuse at Vietnamese factory
A report by the Workers Rights Consortium and Fair Labor Association found further labor violations, including pregnancy discrimination, forced overtime and bribes in exchange for jobs, the Portland Business Journal reports. Nike asserted it is committed to worker’s rights and takes any labor allegations seriously. Nike said it has been in talks with the Hansae factory for more than a year to correct ongoing problems.
In other Nike news, OB Editor Linda Baker thinks Nike’s latest Twitter campaign hits all the right notes. As she says, the athletic apparel giant and Wieden+Kennedy just do it — again.
5. Spokane company buys Ron Tonkin dealerships
Tonkin has 21 dealerships in the Portland metro region and employs nearly 1,000. Tonkin was purchased by Spokane’s Gee Automotive for an undisclosed amount, the Portland Business Journal reports. Gee also owns Gresham Subaru.
6. Bend businessman declared fake contributions to UO, Stanford
The alleged contributions totaled $3.2 million in stock. Stephen Munson claimed a $3.2 million credit for the contribution in 2008, the same year he sold his controlling interest in Vulcan Power Co. for $15 million, the Oregonian reports. He received more than $407,000 from the Internal Revenue Service as a result of the claim. Munson will pay restitution for all losses.