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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Dubious distinction

Wherein Portland is the poster child:

Comments (20)

Given that our pain is a result of the collapse of the timber industry, I would suspect many here would view that ranking as a badge of honor.

Sad, but I suspect true.

The timber industry collapsed 30 years ago. We have never figured out what could replace those jobs. First it was tech, then it was biotech, now it's green... but it hasn't panned out.

Amen Jack. Timber collapsed in 1981. I was just entering law school and my dad was laid off from his job of 40 years in mid level management at Stimson Lumber outside of Gaston. It was a blow. He was only 56 years old.

I've never forgotten it.

What I meant was in re: construction...

The problem with of leaders is that they are looking to make Oregon essentially a one-trick pony. They are looking for "green" jobs because it looks good on the nightly news.

I was in Dallas, TX over Thanksgiving, at let me tell you, that place was rocking. The reason is simple, diversification of industry. When one industry is down, they have many others to pick up the slack. They also have a different mentality there, more of a self-reliant one. The people just seem to look to themselves to better their lives. If it wasn't so darn "Dallas" there, I would consider moving myself and my business there.

The Yahoo article indicates that timber is our one trick pony. For rural Oregon that may be true. That isn't fixed by keeping or attracting a few large employers like Freightliner or Intel, as those jobs are here in oregon, on Swan Island or Hillsboro. Neither is an unemployed logger in Redmond likely to go back to school and then get a job at Intel. There are plenty of people who want the job they did and their father did or nothing.

Now if we could just get condo development to go the same way...

Not to worry, the Obama stimulus plan is on the way.

Intel is actually consolidating other operations to the Portland area. HP is doing the same. Freightliner has been good as gone for five years, they just didn't tell anybody about it.

Part of the problem is this idea of an "overeducated work force" that Sam Adams occasionally talks about. Like LA in the 70s or Seattle in the 90s, Portland is COOOL. So we have an unusual trend where you have lots of recent college grads descending on the area in expectation of living in our beautiful, liberal utopia, but we don't have an economy that can absorb all that. I know people who post for seasonal and part time positions in environmental work who will get 70-80 applications from people with Masters Degrees.

Then you have to hear these people complain about how there are no jobs or salaries are so low here. What ever happened to the idea of choosing a major with good job prospects or emphasis on breaking into your field before you go trying to settle down where you would most want to live?

I tell young people that I meet this all the time. For example: "Dallas Texas has a lot of demand for that, have you ever...?" They reply, "Oh, I could NEVER live there." Really? Then don't expect to be able to compete with people moving here with 10 years of experience in addition to their diploma and internships.

I realize young people have been screwed royally on their future by the Baby Boomers, Bush, Clinton, etc. They should be mad, but at the same time we've allowed this society to become expectant of entitlement, which is part of the problem. I find it hard to feel too sorry for somebody who went to Western Nebraska State and got a BA in geograhy and now expects to come to Portland and have a choice job waiting for him.

As an active investor and business owner, I have watched the Oregon economy implode since way back in late August of 2007. Of course, this was all "news" to the moron currently occupying space in the Governor's office. Ted is such an obtuse moron that he kicked Bill Connerly, possibly one of the sharpest economic minds in the state, off the Governor's economic council because he didn't agree with some of the rosey colored glasses economic predictions given to him by others. As Bill pointed out today in the sunday "O", the roads and infrastructure plans Ted has will do little for the state economy. Lots of money too late for too few economic benefits.

I am willing to bet that by the time the January 2009 unemployment figures come out, Oregon will hit 9-10% unemployment. I know it must be getting bad when I get 4 to 6 cold calls looking for jobs every week - and we have a small three person shop that hasn't hired anyone in years.

Unemployement has hit the tech sector for some time. Both HP and Intel were shedding jobs this fall - but the "O" and others were obviously in the dark about it. I also have a relative that works for a chip company in Vancouver and they are going to go on a month on-month off work schedule starting next week. It would seem like it's time to start shedding some of those public employee jobs - but I've seen little of that so far. I won't be convinced these people in Salem are serious about cutting budgets until I see several hundred state employees finding out what their "comparable worth" really is in the private sector.

It would seem like it's time to start shedding some of those public employee jobs - but I've seen little of that so far. I won't be convinced these people in Salem are serious about cutting budgets until I see several hundred state employees finding out what their "comparable worth" really is in the private sector.

So your solution to rising unemployment is for the state to slash its budget and layoff several hundred employees? Sheer idiocy.

Unemployement has hit the tech sector for some time. Both HP and Intel were shedding jobs this fall - but the "O" and others were obviously in the dark about it.

Gimme a break. This is pulled out of your rear end. The Oregonian has been writing about tech layoffs for months. I refer you to this story from September as but one example:

Oregon losing high-tech jobs -- with more bad news to come
by Mike Rogoway, The Oregonian
Tuesday September 16, 2008, 8:58 PM

A steady drumbeat of cutbacks in Oregon's high-tech sector has reduced the number of technology jobs in the state to its lowest point in nearly three years.

The most recent cuts came Tuesday, when Hillsboro-based Lattice Semiconductor Corp. announced it will lay off 125 employees in a major restructuring -- about 14 percent of its work force -- including 20 who work in Oregon.

Lattice's announcement comes on the heels of 60 layoffs last week at LTX-Credence Corp. in Hillsboro, and ongoing cuts at Hewlett-Packard Co.'s campuses in Corvallis and Vancouver that apparently number in the hundreds.

Oregon has lost 2,500 high-tech jobs, 4.2 percent of its total, in the past two years, according to August data released Monday by the Oregon Employment Department, leaving 57,500 jobs in the sector. And the bad news isn't over yet....

I had a long, long talk with a friend in Portland who's coming back to Dallas to check on her mother. A couple of years ago, I would have gotten some pleasure over people in Portland saying anything positive about Dallas. Now, I'm just plain worried, because I'm starting to hear the same descriptions of North Texas that I haven't heard since I was in Michigan in 1982. I figure that it'll be just a matter of time before we start hearing the urban legends of how "the Dallas paper has seven pages of want ads!" and the like, just like back in '82.

Why does this bug the hell out of me? It's because Portland had enough possibilities that most of my hate for the place was due to the constant missed opportunities, and the current economy will only make things worse. The hipsters and all of the other wankers who keep harping about "Portland is the most liveable city I've ever lived in" (where "liveable" is defined by income attached to the words "trust fund," "insurance settlement," or "grow house") will stay and pretend that they're now kings since everybody else has moved away. The folks who can actually do something besides turn Pabst Blue Ribbon into urine, though, are going to bail if they can't afford to stay in Portland, and they aren't going to come back. I work with several people who were born in Tillamook and Gresham, and as much as they miss the place, the Dallas Cowboys will beat the crap out of the Boston Celtics in the next World Series before they move back.

I was in Dallas, TX over Thanksgiving, at let me tell you, that place was rocking.

Dallas-Fort Worth is near the top of the list of most polluted cites in the nation.

Almost 1 in 5 DFW residents live in poverty.

Of all large US cites (over a million inhabitants), Dallas ranks #1 crime rate per capita.

It's also ranked in the top ten places people *won't* move to.

And believe me, that's just for starters.

Rock on, Dallas.

So we have an unusual trend where you have lots of recent college grads descending on the area in expectation of living in our beautiful, liberal utopia

actually, that a statistic that everybody loves but nobody can prove. like a lot of the "statistics" about Portland.

like bicycle commuters. truth is, less than 1% of Portlanders regularly ride a bike. and only about 13% regularly take public transit--far lower than quite a few cities Portland claims superiority over.

or "green"--Portland has more Superfund sites in and around it that most every city its size. the Willamette? one of the dirtiest urban waterways in the *nation*.

or poverty and hunger--Portland consistently has more hungry people (especially children) than much of American cities of similar size. Oregon too, in fact.

and so on. I love the city, but not because of some specious, warm and fuzzy hipster dream of "coolness" or the marketing mind-fu*k of it being "green".

meanwhile, Oregon Food Bank can't keep up with demand. social services are drying up, and many of OFB's clients are *working families*.

the Great Lie of Portland and vicinity is that it is prosperous, that some utter nonsense like "green jobs" is either green or sustainable and will restore the middle class. Sam Adams will wrap Portland's arms around business but the result will be the same--a devil's bargain that relies on constant growth, expansion, building, resource extraction, and a large an plentiful lower class labor pool.

"It's also ranked in the top ten places people *won't* move to."


"Last Updated: March 27, 2008: 8:05 AM EDT

More people moved to Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, than to any other metropolitan area in the United States last year. "

Portland a nice place, but politicians here have not a clue about how to bring business here. Just buuilding cool stuff ain't working.



you *did* notice the difference between what I said and the subject of the link you posted, right?

"you *did* notice the difference between what I said and the subject of the link you posted, right?"

No, I didn't. You seemed to imply no one moves to Dallas and it is growing faster than Portland.

It's really great we are green and sustainable, but if everyone is begging for Starbucks jobs, what good is it all?

Steve, your blog citation points out so well this thing about Portland where politicians, planners, city bureaucrats keep pounding out, "we're the top...", we are the sixth in the nation in.....".

They don't realize (well, they probably do) that there is an industry of "top ten lists". Every publication, think tank, government agency seems to have a "statistical" best list. And many times they cancel out each other.

We need to have an award program where the best "top ten lists" are recognized. An award for an award.

It's really great we are green and sustainable, but if everyone is begging for Starbucks jobs, what good is it all?

i agree.

You seemed to imply no one moves to Dallas and it is growing faster than Portland.

no. I said Dallas is among the top places people don't want to move. and reading the link you posted, you'll notice Dallas growth is actually declining.

other than that--we're in agreement about the big picture, I think.

Pete: Thanks for the flame job. Cutting public jobs is "sheer idiocy"? What public agency do YOU work for? How do YOU propose that the State of Oregon reduce it's budget? Are you even aware that over 80% of the State budget is spent on salaries?
By the way, I KNOW that some tech companies were shedding jobs because I know people that work there and don't reply on the BOREGONIAN to tell me such things. So stick it where the sun doesn't shine.

Don't worry, Mayor Antoinette is unveiling his own stimulus plan:

"Let them eat pork..."


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