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Biz Beat 7-24-2014

The local real estate market appears to be doing well with residential sale prices improving in all areas, many by double digits, according to a flyer sent out last week by broker Sally Nunn. Nunn’s numbers compare June 2013 with June 2014 and show the biggest gains in the McKenzie Valley (16.9 percent) and Springfield (13.4 percent). West Eugene home sales went up 10 percent with other parts of Eugene showing single-digit growth. The number of closed sales in the metro area increased 3.7 percent and the number of new listings grew by 6.5 percent. 

Several Oregon health insurance rate hikes are unjustified, according to an analysis by the OSPIRG Foundation. Moda, PacificSource, United and Health Net have proposed premium rate increases but OSPIRG concludes that cost savings are not being passed down to customers, medical cost trends are overestimated and waste within the companies is not being adequately addressed. See ospirgfoundation.org. 

World-class track and field athletes are in town, giving local businesses a nice boost. Thousands are here for the 2014 IAAF World Junior Championships this week, a big invitational track and field meet Saturday, July 26, at Hayward Field, and the Eugene Marathon and Half Marathon Sunday, July 27. 

Wholesome Café is a new business that celebrates its official grand opening Thursday, July 31, with free food tasting from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm that day. The café is located downstairs in the Lane County Public Service Building, 125 E. 8th Ave., and offers a breakfast menu, house-made soups and sandwiches and daily specials. The business was previously called Wholesome Meals Delivered. 

In labor news, we hear that Sacred Heart nurses and the Oregon Nurses Association are voting this week on an informational picket due to unsuccessful negotiations with management. Most of the negotiated items are around safe staffing for patient care, according to one source, and the only remaining scheduled negotiation with a federal mediator was this week, July 23. The contract with the nurses expired June 30. Meanwhile, Lane Transit District and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 757 reached an agreement on a new three-year contract earlier this month. See ltd.org. 

We introduced RAIN (Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network) in this column May 29 and the public/private partnership designed to grow local innovation officially launched July 14 with an inaugural class of eight startup companies. The first class of the program will receive 12 weeks of focused mentoring and development. RAIN inaugural startup companies include ADASA, Black Lodge Design Lab, BT Biotech, Dune Sciences, Heads of State, LawyerBoom, Manage My Co-op and SCAPE. “Being an entrepreneur requires adaptability and thick skin,” says Joe Maruschak, chief startup officer and director of the program that promises to “challenge founders’ perceptions of their companies and provide them with the vital skills they need to adapt quickly to feedback in a competitive marketplace.” See raineugene.org.

Falling Sky Brewing in Eugene is now loaning customers a free bicycle for up to 24 hours, including lock, lights and helmet. “We have tried to encourage biking from the beginning, so when the idea of a bike share came up, we thought — wow, that would be awesome,” says co-owner Jason Carriere in a press release. Falling Sky purchased seven underused bikes from UO and partnered with Arriving by Bike, a local shop, for equipment and maintenance. See fallingskybrewing.com or call 520-8012.

Mudra Yoga Eugene is planning to open Aug. 4 at Station Square, 199 E. 5th Ave. Owner is Heather Nelson and she’s trying through crowd-funding to raise at least $6,500 for eco-friendly renovations to the space. Find Mudra Yoga on Facebook, call 543-9121 or email heather@eugenemudra.com.

The Springfield TNR Project (Trap/Neuter/Return of cats) is a successful collaboration among Springfield mayor, City Council, Police Department, Willamette Animal Guild and 50 volunteers. The project began in February and has spayed/neutered 600 cats and transferred 114 to adopting agencies. Adoption fees range from $40 to $90. Ages start at 1 year. For more information or to donate or volunteer, call 607-4271. 

A free small business clinic “Ask the Experts” will be from 5 to 7 pm Thursday, July 31, at the Eugene Public Library downtown. Sponsored by LCC Small Business Development Center and SCORE. Pre-registration required by calling 682-5450.