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Friday, March 1, 2013

SoloPower stink grows stronger

Yesterday we pointed to an O story about SoloPower hiring a liquidation company to sell off millions of dollars of manufacturing equipment. That, along with the serial resignation of several of the company's top executives, signals quite clearly to us that SoloPower is going under, and the hundreds of jobs promised to Portland aren't coming here despite tens of millions of dollars of taxpayer subsidies handed to it.

Less than a day later, the O has run another story about SoloPower, and it's almost as if the reporter on the second article forgot she wrote the first one. She doesn't even mention the liquidation or the multiple resignations.

But what she does uncover is outrageous. Despite the hype of 500 jobs that was sold to the public by the governor and the mayor, the deal on the state handouts was only for 140 jobs:

The performance agreement released by the state's economic development arm details, for the first time, two key employment benchmarks tied to the California-based solar panel maker's manufacturing Business Energy Tax Credit. The company, at a minimum, agreed to "create and maintain" 140 full-time equivalent jobs....

In 2012, as SoloPower built out its first North Portland production line, it needed only three dozen full-time jobs to comply with year one of the deal....

And so basically, we were all lied to.

But it gets worse. The state "agency" that hands out the money in these back room deals isn't acting like a public agency when it comes to giving up documents under the state's public records laws. It's blacking out key elements of the SoloPower deal, claiming that they are some sort of trade secret:

But Business Oregon redacted the deadline for meeting that mark, as well as all future employment mandates. The agency typically does not spell out specifics, citing trade secrets.

Wow. What unmitigated horsecrap. There is no reason that deal shouldn't have been fully aired at the time it was made, and there is no excuse for redacting a single word of it. If people seeking handouts want secrecy, then they need to go see their banks, not the government, for money.

Taxpayers, it's time to figure out who the heck "Business Oregon" is. The O says it's "the state's economic development arm." That "arm" appears to have an extended middle finger on the end of it.

Comments (10)

Are tax dollars being "laundered"?

I think Grumpy poses a very valid question. Perhaps the Oregon AG should have a look, if she has time.

You knew you were lied to at the time. Not that you could do anything about it.

Couldn't SoloPower essentially mean a strongly extended middle finger?

I think what Oregon needs is somebody with deep pockets who can hire a real S.O.B. lawyer to sue most of what passes for government in Oregon.
Or maybe a group that all chip in
$5-10K each to go after these irresponsible jerks in government.

Dave A - Or a federal prosecutor to put some heat on at least.

The 'public records law' of Oregon basically keeps public records out of the hands of the public.
Another sham

The cabal has been getting by easily, now that money is scarce their actions are more noticed yet they want to scoop up what they can while they can. In my view, taking inches and getting by has turned to taking a foot and now miles.
As for the law, what has happened to the law of our land?

140 jobs? StanCorp laid off just that many in 2011 or 2012. And then 100 more just a month or two ago. If that's what they really care about, then they're already losing ground. Wouldn't it be easier to try to *save* existing jobs?

Does ANYBODY in charge in Portland or the State of Oregon actually understand basic economics and business? I'm just some schmo, but I could see this coming when it all started up... I'm not bragging, it just seems like such obvious shenanigans.

Downtown, you have hit the nail on the head. It is amature hour not only here locally but in DC as well and almost nobody asks any questions. The media is in on the deal with these idiots.
Do you think BlueManure or Schrader or the Senator from NY or the former Tiger congressman or his Attny's wife etc have any clue what they are doing? The empty suit in the Whitehouse? Crazy Joe? Ginny Burdick aka we need to hire a Klingon interpreter?

Good thing Ludlow and friends kept Solopower
out of Wilsonville and Clackamas County. Thanks Sam Rand twins.

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