Friday, August 29, 2008

► On the record

"Baby Boomers have tended to reinvent every decade they've been a part of – every one has been a 'me' decade. Because of our sheer numbers, we have had no choice but to affect social change."
- Tracy Reilly-Kelly, Clark College mature learning program manager

Reporter's Notebook

Woody’s outfits on the cheap

Instead of spending a bunch of money he didn’t have to outfit his new downtown Vancouver Mexican restaurant, Woody’s Tacos owner and head chef Scott Holzinger hit up two awesome resources for cheap supplies – ReStore and Craigslist.
ReStore is a chain of Habitat for Humanity retail outlets that collects building materials and household goods for discounted public resale. At the Portland ReStore, Holzinger snagged Italian tile for 25 cents a square foot, grout, paint and borders, he told me in the midst of making mayonnaise and cookies at the same time.
In true fashion, he found the restaurant’s wooden bar that some guy made in his garage on Craigslist for $150 along with dozens of glasses, wood, a refrigerator and hand sinks.
“You can find anything on Craigslist,” Holzinger said as a waitress and an electrician he found on the site showed up for work.
And, all of you cheapie builders, you won’t have to hold your breath much longer for Vancouver’s ReStore to get up and running. Kristina Aitchison, Evergreen Habitat for Humanity’s executive director reports that the nonprofit is inches away from announcing the location of the new store, which is set to launch Dec. 1.

- Megan Patrick-Vaughn

Business Around the Northwest

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

► On the record

“Opposition to the Cowlitz Tribe’s plans (for a casino near La Center) has mobilized the creation of several concerned citizens groups ... Efforts to diversify La Center’s economy must approach a similar level of passion, sophistication and dedication.”
- From AngelouEconomics’ situational analysis and strategic implications report for the city of La Center

Reporter's Notebook

Get the money moving

The Port of Vancouver's Economy in Motion Symposium is coming up Sept. 26. The event at the Hilton Vancouver is meant to get people talking about the relationship between moving goods, job creation and attracting new businesses to the area.

So let’s start the discussion now. How are traffic congestion and fuel costs affecting your business? Does cash flow slow down for you as traffic slows? As we wait several years to see how the changes to the Interstate 5 bridge will become a reality, what are some ways to increase freight mobility in the area?

A great place to learn more about this stuff is at the monthly meetings of the Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council…if you’re into meetings (and I know some of you really are!). The meeting schedule and minutes are available at

Post your thoughts on the issue on this site or send them to me at

Details on the Economy in Motion symposium are available through Katy Brooks at the Port of Vancouver, 360-992-1128 or

--Charity Thompson

Business Around the Northwest

Regional business headlines

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

► On the record

“I’d like to see a system built in the county that makes it sexier than trailer courts and mansions. When you see the zoning, there are trailers next to mansions and gravel pits next to berry farms. The rural areas could create an economic base (for Clark County) with the wine industry.”
-Jeff Waddell, owner of East Fork Vineyards in Battle Ground

Read more about local winemakers in this Friday’s VBJ!

Reporter's Notebook


My research this week for a story on the city of La Center’s developing economic plan has me wondering about Clark County’s economic situation, too.

I found in this report that Clark County’s labor force grew 29 percent from 2000 to 2007. That’s quite a bit higher than the Vancouver-Portland metro area’s rate of 15 percent and the state’s rate of 14 percent.

Employment growth in Clark County from 2001 to 2007 was at 16 percent, higher the metro area’s job growth of 6 percent and the state’s growth of 9 percent.
But here’s the kicker. The county’s unemployment rate since 2001 has consistently been higher than averages for the metro area, the state and the nation. In the first quarter of 2008, Clark County’s unemployment rate was close to 7 percent while the metro area’s about 5.6 percent. The state and the nation’s rate was about 5.4 percent.

So now I’m wondering – if Clark County’s labor force has grown 13 percent faster than the job market, what does this mean to you as employers? What do you think it will take to make those numbers match, especially with the economy slogging along like it is?

- Charity Thompson

Business Around the Northwest

Today’s regional business headlines