Nike vs. Nature

Forest fires and corporate layoffs call attention to the twin forces that shape this state’s identity — and the twin pillars that support the Oregon economy.

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Nike announced a second round of layoffs this week. The downsizing includes 255 workers let go in July and an additional 490 expected to be laid off by the end of this month, according to the Portland Business Journal.
The layoffs are part of a larger restructuring the athletic apparel giant announced last spring. The company, which employs 12,000 on its Beaverton campus, insists the changes will create a leaner, more consumer focused business entity.  
But Nike has clearly taken a hit this past year amid a radically changing retail environment, fickle millennial preferences and the uncommon success experienced by competitor and fellow Oregon-headquartered company, Adidas. 
As one icon stumbles, the historic conflagrations burning around the state threaten the forests, rivers and mountains many Oregonians consider a second home.  

As Michael Cloughesy of the Oregon Forest Resources Institute told me yesterday, a web of factors are contributing to this year’s historic conflagrations, and new policies need to account for all of them.

Just as we can’t take our corporate assets for granted, so too do we need to steward our natural assets carefully, especially since Oregon forests are key economic assets.

On that note: Check out our story on new development underway in Mosier, a tiny Columbia Gorge town threatened last year by the oil train derailment and now by forest fires.

Sen. Ron Wyden is scheduled to speak on the Senate floor this morning about on the Oregon wildfires and his work to get the president to include a fix on wildfire funding in the disaster aid package. 

Like most news outlets, we’ve found it difficult to steer our attention away from the fire beat. (Click here to read a short writeup by our new OB intern, Rachel Ramirez, about downtown businesses operating in a smoky environment.)  But here are a few other stories that caught our eye:
Research editor Kim Moore interviewed Heritage Bank president and COO Jeff Deuel. As Moore notes in her intro, the  banking sector has been marked by rapid consolidation over the past few years, with several small community banks merging into larger financial institutions.

Heritage, a small, 90-year-old, Olympia-based community institution, seems to be bucking the trend. Read Kim’s Q&A here.  

In what is becoming a depressingly common announcement, Oregon announced it would join a coalition to block an order issued by President Trump, this time his decision to end DACA,  the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.  The Eugene Register-Guard reports.

And finally, the OB editorial team has been on tenterhooks the past few months wondering who would move in to the space formerly occupied by Abercrombie and Fitch.  Now we know.  A new Capital One Cafe will occupy the prime retail space on the corner of Southwest Broadway and Morrison. The cafe is slated to open in 2018.

Not everyone is happy about the news. 

Watch for a profile of Arambula on this page soon.