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Biz Beat

April 10, 2014

What’s happening with the LUCiA development on Friendly Street? Construction on the second row of townhouses is expected to wrap up by June 1 and one of the units has already been sold, says Mel Bankoff, who is in partnership with architect Jan Fillinger of studio-e architecture and  project manager Teri Reifer (see our 2013 story at wkly.ws/1q3). Bankoff says he plans to have open houses in mid-April. The third phase of residential development will begin in June with a completion target of March 2015.

April 3, 2014

Sustainable Cottage Grove and the Oregon Food Bank are holding a community event called FEAST (Food, Education, Agriculture, Solutions, Together) from 10 am to 4 pm Saturday, April 5, at the Cottage Grove Community Center, 700 E. Gibbs. The event focuses on promoting and supporting local food systems.

March 27, 2014

Joanie Kleban tells us Greater Goods will be ending its regular hours after Saturday, March 29, and will be open off and on during April. Kleban is retiring after 23 years and is selling off her extensive inventory of hand-crafted, fair-trade goods from around the world. The store is on High Street across from Fifth Street Public Market. What’s next?

March 20, 2014

Core Campus is planning to open its 512-bed, 183-unit student luxury housing project in August 2015, but will “The Hub” at 515 E. Broadway be able to compete with the glut of cheaper student housing already being built, particularly at a time when college enrollment is dropping? At other Core projects, monthly rent for studios runs about $1,000 and five-bedroom apartments go for about $3,000. Penthouse units and those with their own hot tubs are more.

March 13, 2014

Last week in this column we wrote about a late-night flight coming into Eugene Feb. 23 that was diverted to Portland. It took a few tries before we found someone to talk to at the Eugene Airport, but it appears we talked to a fellow who was ill-informed. The flight did not arrive after midnight so the tower was still open, there actually was a malfunction of the Automated Surface Observing System at the airport. ASOS is owned and operated by the Federal Aviation Administration, not the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

March 6, 2014

We heard a late-night flight coming into Eugene Sunday, Feb. 23, was unable to land and was diverted to Portland. Grumpy Eugene passengers had to rent cars and make the early morning drive home. The pilot told passengers that he was unable to get ground wind speed information from the Eugene tower and so he could not land. What happened? We checked with Eugene Airport officials and learned that all pilots have discretion when it comes to safety and it appears some malfunction occured with the FAA equipment, which was quickly repaired. 

February 27, 2014

Cascade Raptor Center on Fox Hollow Road took a big hit in the recent snow and ice storm, says Louise Shimmel of the center. She says volunteers wore hard hats as they were feeding the birds and checking on them amid crashing branches and even falling trees. The birds survived despite damage to their aviaries, though a couple of traumatized owls and a kite needed to come inside for the weekend. A supply shed was damaged, along with the mouse barn and a car. The center was closed for two weeks and is now fundraising to help pay for the damage and lost revenue.

February 20, 2014

SheerID has grown to 21 employees and has moved from 1175 Charnelton to a larger building at 2451 Willamette St. The now vacant Charnelton building was previously occupied by the nonprofit Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics. SheerID specializes in verifying valid customers for businesses, nonprofits and other organizations that do targeted marketing. The business grew out of concern for fake IDs and coupons being used for discounts and special offers by military vets, students, alumni, etc. The company has seen major growth since launching in early 2013.

February 13, 2014

The annual KLCC Microbrew Festival carried on at the Fairgrounds last weekend despite the snow and ice, and “this was the first time we’ve had ever had people arrive by ski, sled and snowshoes,” says Cheryl Crumbley of KLCC. She says proceeds were down about 50 percent due to the weather, but only six out of 65 breweries didn’t make it. “For the attendees, this year’s brewfest was excellent because the music was great and the crowds were small (no lines).” The low attendance was “a big blow,” but Crumbley says there are no plans for a make-up event.

February 6, 2014

Greater Goods is closing after 23 years in Eugene. Joan Kleban is retiring and she has been a good friend to EW and a consistent advertiser all these years. We wish her well and expect she will continue to be a positive force in our community. We also appreciate her dedication to offering fair trade, hand-made products and folk art from around the world. Fair trade goods promote social and environmental sustainability, rare qualities in developing countries and even here at home.

January 30, 2014

Sponsors, Inc. is holding a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 3 pm Thursday, Jan. 30, at its new Bothy Cottage/RISE (Reunite in a Supportive Environment) home. The five-bedroom, 3,200-sq.-ft. house is the first of its kind in Oregon and unique nationally. Its mission is to help mothers who are returning home from prison. Services include parenting classes, cognitive behavioral therapy, drug treatment and more. RSVP to tdejohn@sponsorsinc.org or call 505-5687. 

January 23, 2014

Rental owners in Eugene can take advantage of EWEB’s renewed zero-interest loans and rebates for ductless heat pumps and other upgrades. A lot of older rental units have electric ceiling heat, baseboard heat or wall units that suck a lot of juice. Renters usually get stuck with the high EWEB bills, but we know some rental owners who approached their tenants and asked them if they would be willing to pay more rent in exchange for cheaper, better heat and air conditioning. The deal can pencil out well and add property value.

January 16, 2014

The David Minor Theater at 180 E. 5th Ave. is expanding and showing $3 matinees now that Ronny Goldfarb of Ronny’s Audio Vision next door retired the first of the year, according to Josh Goldfarb, Ronny’s son and the owner of DMT. “We are also in the process of expanding and maximizing the space now available to us. So stay tuned for updates!” he says. The DMT has been in business for the past four years. See davidminortheater.com or call 762-1700.

January 9, 2014

Scams inspired by our popular Best of Eugene Awards are evolving. Not only are businesses and groups being offered fake Best of Eugene plaques for $150 (the real ones are free), but local businesses are now getting pitched for “Dental Office of the Year” or “Salon of the Year” and other fake accolades. These so-called awards are touted as “free” but the scammers charge big bucks for making the plaques and shipping them, if in fact they ever make and ship them at all after they take your Visa number. 

January 2, 2014

We hear Gray’s Garden Centers in both Eugene and Springfield closed over the holidays due to Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The locally owned business has been part of the community since 1940. Gray’s has reportedly been in Chapter 11 reorganization for the past year. The store has a prime location on busy 6th Avenue in Eugene and a second high-traffic location at 4441 Main St. in Springfield. We hear it’s possible the stores and their inventory will be sold and the business will continue under new ownership.

December 26, 2013

Tsunami Books at Willamette and 25th is organizing a fundraising day and event Saturday, Dec. 28, in support of Lane Arts Council and Friends of Civic Stadium. Customers are asked to “refrain from the usual discounts on new books, special orders, etc., on this day only,” says owner Scott Landfield. Instead, 20 percent of  sales will be split between the two nonprofits. The day’s events will include free live music from 5 to 8 pm by Nancy Wood, Paul Safar, Sean Brennan and Mike Hatgis. Call 345-8986 or find Tsunami on Facebook.

December 12, 2013

The campaign to raise state and federal minimum wages is going strong, and now Oregon State Treasurer Ted Wheeler is calling for more transparency in corporate executive pay packages. Wheeler is the custodian of state funds and says the gap between the highest and lowest paid employees in a company is an indicator of that company’s long-term profitability. Such information can affect state investments in Oregon stocks, and Wheeler believes the public also has a right to know.

December 5, 2013

City Club of Eugene is getting a new venue starting with its Jan. 10 meeting. We wrote about a City Club survey of its members in this column back on Sept. 19, and one of the preliminary top three favorites for a meeting place was the Downtown Athletic Club. Looks like the DAC beat out the Hilton and LCC Downtown Campus in the final selection, offering a “wider set of food options and price points, as well as a lower guarantee for the club,” according to the club’s website.

November 27, 2013

This long Thanksgiving weekend, those of us who are capable of leaving the house (or actually have a house) might look at alternatives to the retail mania that grips our nation. If you feel compelled to shop, Holiday Market with all its delights will be open at the Fairgrounds and it’s a marvelous place to hang out even if you’re broke. Fifth Street Public Market is hosting “Small Business Saturday” for the third year in a row Nov. 30. All the shops there are locally owned and operated, as are hundreds of small businesses around town.

November 21, 2013

For-profit banks are losing billions as more and more people discover not-for-profit credit unions which often offer better savings and loan rates, and fewer of those fees that irritate bank customers. Bankers, naturally, have big clout in Congress and regulations are being proposed that would require credit unions to pay the same taxes as for-profit banks. Several of our local credit unions are joining to educate their members and the public about the issues.

November 14, 2013

 It’s too late to register for the Regional Prosperity Summit that began Thursday morning, Nov. 14, at the Ford Alumni Center, but the event carries over at 8:30 am Friday at Hilton Garden Inn, 3528 Gateway St. in Springfield. Contact Beth Forrest at 682-5882 or email beth.l.forrest@ci.eugene.or.us.

November 7, 2013

 Eugeneans are still pondering the boom in student housing and wondering when it will end. In light of the overbuilding (see our cover story Oct. 10) we predict several big projects on the drawing board will be shelved before groundbreaking. College enrollment has peaked, so the big out-of-state investors have been counting on drawing tenants from existing apartments and houses all over town. That’s happening to a degree, but Eugene is not a typical college town.

October 31, 2013

Residential property sales are up significantly in Lane County, comparing last September with this September, according to a Regional Multiple Listing Service report passed along to us by Prudential broker Sally Nunn. The median residential sales price is up 15 percent, the number of new listings is up 15 percent and the number of closed sales is up 16.8 percent. Neighborhoods leading in average price change are Mohawk Valley, Springfield, McKenzie Valley, River Road, Coburg/I-5 and southwest Eugene.

October 17, 2013

Abstract Bodyworks has opened at 2840 Crescent Ave., Suite 100, near Crescent Village in north Eugene. Owner Ed Collins says the Abstract program is designed for those over 50 “who want to live 15 years younger in as little as 15 minutes a week.” The program focuses on slow-motion strength training to “reverse the aging process and regain muscle strength and overall health.” Collins previously managed the rehab and exercise division of Back2Strength. Katie Collins, a graduate in exercise science at NCU, will manage the business. Call 844-1608.