Editor’s Roundup

PERS task force mulls revenue options; another dam comes down. Plus, my son gets a job.

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Here at OB we spend much of our time reporting on the big picture: the job market, new industry sectors, the state of higher education. But the personal lurks behind every political story we write. I was reminded of this last week, when a major event in my family cast light on market trends.

Here’s what happened: OB Research editor Kim Moore posted an article about Oregon universities launching new majors in response to industry demand. Geographic Information Systems (GIS), a combination of geography and computer science, ranked high on the list of popular new degrees.

The day after we posted the story, my son, a newly-minted college graduate, landed his first professional job as a small town community planner. He majored in environmental systems and minored in urban planning with a concentration in GIS.

It was a neat illustration of the macro intersecting with the micro (not to mention a huge relief for me as a mother).  

Market trends impact real lives. And a college degree pays off.

About that news roundup:

Pension fund solutions.  A governor-appointed task force considers selling public land and privatizing public agencies to help fill the $5B Public Employees Retirement System gap. Read the Register Guard article here.

Deal book. Avalign Technologies acquired Thortex, a Portland medical device manufacturer. Read the Portland Business Journal article here.

Another dam down. After twenty years of planning, the Umatilla Watershed Council is dismantling the Dillon Diversion Dam on the Umatilla River.  The goal is to improve fish passage and improve water efficiency, the East Oregonian reports.

In other dam news:  The Bend Bulletin reports that the 105-year-old North Canal Diversion Dam is on a list of 17 Oregon dams rated as a “high” hazard if they were to collapse.

Pacific Seafood Group can’t stay out of the news.  The privately-held company has been at the center of numerous anti-trust allegations over the years. Yesterday a former executive who embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from Pacific Seafood Group was sentenced to two years in federal prison. Oregonlive has the story.

OB Originals:

On the scene:  NAFTA was the talk of the day at the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region Conference. Katy Sword reports.  

Teaser: Portland is hostile territory for the Western States Petroleum Association. The big oil lobbying group scored a win last week when the Oregon land use board reversed Portland’s decision to ban new fossil fuel terminals. WSPA’s chief executive, Catherine Reheis-Boyd, was in town yesterday as part of a media outreach tour. Check back later today when I post a short Q&A.

From the magazine: Employers charge into health care reform: Compannies draw on business-based trusts, professional partnerships and other tactics to lower health insurance costs and boost employee well being. Writer Dan Cook reports.