Morning Roundup

Photo credit: Portland Business Journal

Oregon tops solar policy rankings, environmentalists aim to stop Union Pacific lawsuit and OSU sells fossil fuel stocks.

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1. Oregon solar policies are top notch, for now

An analysis by Solar Power Rocks found only Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island had implemented stronger solar power development policies than Oregon, the Portland Business Journal reports. But at least two of the policies that gave Oregon its favorable ranking are set to expire at the end of 2018 — unless the Legislature takes action. There’s a property tax exemption for homeowners who utilize solar power as well as a tax credit for those homeowners. A bill has been introduced to extend the credit through 2023, but if it doesn’t make it out of committee rooms, Oregon is set to lose its favorable ranking.

2. Groups file lawsuit against Union Pacific lawsuit

A group made up of Friends of the Columbia Gorge, Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility and Columbia Riverkeeper filed a motion yesterday to oppose a UP lawsuit which seeks approval of a proposed rail expansion, the Statesman Journal reports. Union Pacific filed its suit against Wasco County after the commission rejected its proposal to expand the rail along the Columbia River Gorge. The expansion is proposed for the same area where a oil train derailment occurred last June.

3. OSU dropping fossil fuel investments

Oregon State University will sell most of its $8.8 million stake in fossil fuel stocks, the Register Guard reports. The board of trustees approved the divestiture by a 11-0 vote, with two abstentions. The move caps a four-year campaign by students and faculty to end the university’s interests in carbon rich fuels such as oil, coal and gas.

4. New women entrepreneur fund, XXcelerate, announced

Just days after Women’s Marches across the nation broke protest records, a group of Portland entrepreneurs are starting a fund to help women succeed. This isn’t the first women-targeted venture fund in Portland. The Women’s Venture Capital Fund started by Edith Dorsen is one example — but as Dorsen pointed out, only 5% of venture capital goes to women-led companies. XXcelerate will utilize funding from the Portland Development Commission to help women statewide. Among the founders are Paige Hendrix Buckner, co-founder of ClientJoy, and Mara Zepeda, co-founder of Switchboard, whom we interviewed in November. 

5. Nik Blosser hired as Gov. Brown’s chief of staff

The co-founder of Oregon Business Association, president of Celilo Group, Sokol Blosser Winery chairman and husband to Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury will replace Kristen Leonard, Willamette Week reports. Leonard resigned Jan. 3 after it was discovered she failed to disclose conflicts of interest. Blosser is Brown’s third chief of staff in 14 months.

6. Luxury hotel to open in downtown McMinnville 

The new 36-room hotel, known as the Atticus, will break ground in May with an opening date of Spring 2018. The building is being developed by the Odd Fellows Building and leased by Live McMinnville, which also manages the boutique lodging company 3rd Street Flats.

7. WeWork doubles Portland footprint

The coworking company is opening a second 30,000-square-foot space in the top floor of Pioneer Place, the Portland Business Journal reports. WeWork is currently housed in the U.S. Custom House in Old Town. The new location will open this spring.

8. OB Original Blog: Millennial weddings defy disruption

The wedding-industrial complex is not easily toppled.