Biz Beat 2-12-2015

Big turnout for the Womenspace fifth annual “End the Silence” community breakfast Feb. 4. An estimated 320 to 350 people, including many local dignitaries and business owners, showed up on a cold, dark, wet morning for the 7 am free buffet at Valley River Inn. A “survivor panel” of women told their personal stories about intimate partner violence and how Womenspace services helped and continues to help them through the challenges. Their stories document the many ways relationships turn abusive and the complex emotional, physical, legal and economic challenges that arise. Additional speakers included Womenspace Board President Thea McCown and Executive Director Peggy Whalen. 

The event will raise at least $8,000 after expenses for food and room rent are paid and “lots of people signed up to volunteer,” Whalen says. “Womenspace was thrilled to see a record number of community members come out to help us ‘End the Silence’ around domestic violence. We met or exceeded all of our goals and it was an amazing success. We thank the community for their support in helping survivors in our community.” Call 485-8232 or visit to help out.

The Westside Warehouse District is a new collaboration of wineries, brewers and distillers in west Eugene loosely organized for mutual support and to put on events. The next event will likely be a scavenger hunt April 4. Participating in the district are Noble Estate Urban Winery, J. Scott Cellars, Claim 52 Brewing, Viking Braggot Company and Crescendo Organic Spirits. All are within a 2-mile radius. 

Oregon Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley are co-sponsoring a bill that would reduce the excise tax on each barrel of beer brewed by small brewers. Senate Bill 375 is called the Small Brewer Reinvestment and Expanding Workforce Act, or Small BREW Act, and would change the threshold definition of a small brewer to better reflect modern production. A reduced excise tax and a more accurate definition of a small brewer could have a “huge impact in Oregon, which ranks number one in breweries per capita with 221 small and independent breweries directly employing more than 6,600 people and contributing more than $2.8 billion to Oregon’s economy,” reads a statement from Wyden and Merkley. We’ll drink a pint to that.

Salsa Garcia is coming up on its second anniversary in Eugene. Owner Patricia Garcia Rogers makes and sells salsa and tamales at Market of Choice, Capella Market, Saturday Market, Picc-A-Dilly and the Oregon Country Fair. She tells us she’s doing something different, a tamale-making workshop at 1 pm Saturday, Feb. 28, at FOOD for Lane County’s kitchen at 770 Bailey Hill Road. $50 includes all supplies and you end up with a dozen tasty tamales. Call 321-3929 to reserve a spot.

The third Oregon Medical Marijuana Business Conference is scheduled for March 15-16 at the Hilton downtown. The event is likely to be well attended since pending legalization of recreational marijuana has become a source of confusion and conflicting information. The nuts and bolts (or seeds and stems) of how this new legal industry will function are being worked out at the Oregon Legislature this session, and also at the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, the agency that will oversee the recreational pot program and its three levels of licensing. The conference will provide opportunities for networking and also hearing from experts in the field, such as former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson and OLCC’s Tom Burns, who is overseeing implementation of Measure 91. One big unresolved issue is how legal and medical marijuana will coexist in Oregon. Find the conference and registration information at