PPS bond passes, marijuana factors into economic forecast and health insurers seek double digit rate hikes.
— PPS $790 million bond approved
Portland’s school district bond passed with about 66% of the vote, OPB reports. The bond is the largest school bond in Oregon’s history. The money will rebuild or renovate four schools and dedicate $150 million to health improvements (including removing lead from the drinking water). Home owners will pay $1.40 per $1,000 of assessed value for the first four years (a home worth $230,000 will pay $322, for example).
— Coos County voters vote against measure to block LNG pipeline
A measure to prevent the Jordan Cove pipeline was defeated in Coos County with a 76-24% margin, the Portland Business Journal reports. The measure specifically banned transporting fossil fuels into or through Coos County unless intended for local use. The backers of Jordan Cove recently resubmitted a proposal for federal approval. The project was denied under the last administration.
— Portland say ‘yes’ to charging short-term rental lodging tax
Portland short-term rental companies, like HomeAway and VRBO, will now pay a 6% tax, OPB reports. The tax is similar to what hotels already pay. Airbnb also already pays a tax in Portland. The funding will mostly go to police, fire and city services.
Marijuana part of economic forecast for first time
Oregon’s Economic and Revenue Forecast included some new revenue projections this quarter, OPB reports. Marijuana sales began in October 2015, but this is the first time Oregon data is being factored in to the forecast. In the past, economists relied on data from other states with legalized marijuana to estimate revenue. Economists say the projections are still highly uncertain, as the industry is so new. But revenues are expected to continue to increase.
Insurers seek double digit rate hikes
Oregon’s health insurers are again asking regulators for a bump to their rates, the Portland Business Journal reports. Providence Health Plan is seeking a 20.7% increase, Moda Health wants an 18.7% bump, Kaiser is asking for a 12.4% hike while PacificSource Health has only asked for a 6.9% increase.
PCC, PSU partner for business education
The partnership is forming a new program called Start-To-Finish, according to a press release. The program will allow students to earn their business degree entirely online. Students will begin with their associate of science degree at PCC and conclude with a bachelor’s degree from PSU in Business Administration, with a focus on either management and leadership or supply and logistics management.
Erickson helicopters emerges from bankruptcy
Erickson Inc. filed bankruptcy last year to shed $400 million of debt after borrowing heavily to absorb Evergreen Helicopters in 2013. With new leaders and a private owner, Erickson will remain open, the Oregonian reports. The company is also no longer publicly traded.
Portland housing startup raises $5.3 million
IOTAS, a smart apartment startup, raised the $5.3 million thanks to recent investments from Rogue Venture Partners and the Oregon Angel Fund, the Oregonian reports. The Portland startup aims to provide apartment dwellers with the same smart tech that homeowners seek. IOTAS has its own technology as well as the ability to integrate with existing platforms, including Nest and Amazon’s Alexa.