Biz Beat 12-31-2014

We understand why private investors are motivated to build student-housing complexes. College enrollment is predicted to grow and the projects pencil out as profitable even if they are not filled to capacity, particularly if tax breaks are involved. Once built and operating, they can be sold to other big-time investors to cover costs and pocket a few million bucks. But what we don’t understand is why they are designed to accommodate only single students for the life of the building, say 40 to 50 years. Building bedrooms around a common kitchen and living room with minimal storage is a very inflexible design. Demographics are changing. College enrollment may be peaking. The housing needs of the future are likely to be for seniors (some in wheelchairs), couples and families. These units with their narrow doors and small rooms cannot be easily converted. Will they become run-down flop houses in 20 years, or bulldozed to build new condos? Good city planning would avoid such mono-housing.

A Lyme disease support and education group has formed in Eugene to serve all of Lane County. Lyme Disease Eugene Oregon is organizing public town-hall style meetings and free film showings of Under Our Skin and Emergence. The group is on Facebook or call 854-5336 to get on an email list for future events.

Free individual job-hunting help will be available from 5 to 7 pm Thursday, Jan. 8, and Thursday, Jan. 22, at the Eugene Public Library, sponsored by the library, Goodwill Industries and United Way. Also at 6 pm Jan. 8 will be “A Quick Look at QuickBooks” with Jodi Reilly of JLK Accounting & Consulting. Sponsored by the library, LCC Small Business Development Center and SCORE. Pre-register for both offerings by calling 682-5450 or see

Shmuel Shalom Cohen of Conscious Torah will offer a free class intended to “help you overcome whatever is keeping you from living the life you want” at 6 pm Tuesday, Jan. 6, at Cafe Perugino, 767 Willamette St.Cohen gives classes and does one-on-one tutoring and is starting a monthly series of free drop-in classes and events that will address questions about Judaism as well as “show people a side of traditional Judaism they might not know about,” he says. See or call 514-2571.

“Lane County’s Greatest Natural Disasters” will be the topic at GreenLane Sustainable Business Network’s monthly member meeting at 11:30 am Wednesday, Jan. 7, at the Eugene Hilton. Author William Sullivan will be the guest speaker, talking about Lane County’s 13,000 years of human occupation through floods, earthquakes, forest fires, eruptions and tsunamis. Sullivan will address issues of disaster preparedness and the exacerbations of climate change. Lunch is optional, assuming the Hilton is still standing.