Clark County economic recovery begins to clock in

By Gordon Oliver April 20, 2014 6 a.m.

Ever since the Great Recession was declared officially over on Sept. 20, 2010, economists have talked about the slow pace of recovery in comparison to past recessions. In Clark County, where a largely middle-income, commuter-driven economy took a deeper dive than most in the Portland metropolitan area, it sometimes felt like the rising tide of that slow recovery would never raise our boats.

Umpqua faces challenge as it grows

By Gordon Oliver April 17, 2014 5:41 p.m.

Umpqua Bank has been on a self-proclaimed mission of changing the face of banking with its living-room-friendly "stores," its hyper-courteous employees, and the "world's greatest bank" moniker it brashly embraced years ago as a tiny Oregon community bank.

Cantwell to visit Vancouver on Wednesday, focus on small businesses

By Gordon Oliver April 15, 2014 4:27 p.m.

Sen. Maria Cantwell, will host a field hearing of the Senate Small Business Committee at 10:30 a.m. today at Vancouver City Hall, 415 W. Sixth St.

Late filers keep local tax preparers busy

By Gordon Oliver April 14, 2014 4:26 p.m.

Taxpayers aiming to avoid heavy fees imposed on those who wait to file kept tax preparers busy Monday with a last-minute push to beat the federal income tax filing deadline of midnight today.

Strictly Business: Young workers left idling

By Gordon Oliver April 13, 2014 6 a.m.

As our post-recession economy reshapes itself in a new form, we're seeing plenty of surprises and more than a few disappointments.

Regulators lift restrictions on Riverview Bank

By Gordon Oliver April 8, 2014 5:20 p.m.

Bank says "significant improvement" in financial condition led to end of regulatory requirements

American Empress stops by and says hello

By Gordon Oliver April 4, 2014 5:53 p.m.

The American Empress riverboat, set to launch its first full Columbia River cruise on Sunday, docked briefly today in Vancouver in advance of its formal christening Saturday on the Willamette River in downtown Portland.

Southwest Washington sees decline in SBA loans

By Gordon Oliver April 3, 2014 4:58 p.m.

The U.S. Small Business Administration's loan program took a hit when the federal government closed its doors Oct. 1-16 due to a political impasse in Congress, but business loans are moving again at a healthy pace locally as the federal fiscal year hits its midway point.

Umpqua-Sterling merger nears completion

By Gordon Oliver April 1, 2014 4:52 p.m.

A merger between Portland-based Umpqua Bank and Spokane-based Sterling Bank is set for completion by April 18, the corporate parents of the two banks said in a statement released Tuesday.

BNSF making improvements in the Gorge

By Gordon Oliver March 31, 2014 5:19 p.m.

BNSF Railroad is in the midst of major upgrades of its rail lines across the nation, including in Washington, with improvements now underway on the heavily used Columbia River Gorge rail segment.

Strictly Business: OnTheGo sets sights on future

By Gordon Oliver March 30, 2014 6 a.m.

Before most of us have had our first chance to try Google Glass, a device that hides computing and communications inside a pair of eyeglasses, restless software developers are racing to come up with ways to advance the nascent technology.

Trek Global a semifinalist for funds

By Gordon Oliver March 27, 2014 6 a.m.

Vancouver technology startup Trek Global sees a big niche in helping small businesses manage inventory and recordkeeping using cloud-based services, and it believes it has the products to fill that niche.

Tesoro, Savage brass in town for meetings

By Aaron Corvin and Gordon Oliver March 24, 2014 6:33 p.m.

Several top officials of the two companies hoping to build an oil-by-rail transfer terminal at the Port of Vancouver are in town this week for private meetings with key business and government leaders, and project partners.

Riverboat reborn as American Empress

By Gordon Oliver March 20, 2014 6:04 p.m.

The American Empress, a refurbished and renamed riverboat that operated on the Columbia River and Alaska from 2003 to 2008, will return next month with Vancouver-based operations and tours extending from Astoria, Ore., to Clarkston, on the Idaho border.

Humane Society opens new thrift store

By Gordon Oliver March 20, 2014 5:41 p.m.

A new ReTails Thrift Store at 5000 E. Fourth Plain Blvd. will hold its grand opening celebration from today through Monday.

New tortilla chips made in Vancouver will compete with Oregon product

By Gordon Oliver March 19, 2014 4:37 p.m.

The tortilla chips recently added to local grocery shelves would seem well-suited for those who prefer to buy local

Strictly Business: Health law a joke to merchant

By Gordon Oliver March 16, 2014 6 a.m.

Vancouver small-business owner Tim Barry was plenty mad when his insurance was canceled in October as part of the nation's transition into the Affordable Care Act, widely known as Obamacare.

Mixed bag for state banking numbers

By Gordon Oliver March 14, 2014 6 a.m.

Washington's banks report a year-over-year rise in assets and employment during 2013, and more of them are earning a profit than in 2012, according to a recently-released report by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Children's garden to sprout in downtown courtyard

By Gordon Oliver March 11, 2014 6 a.m.

Brianne Wallace took one look at a vacant downtown courtyard, once a transit station, and saw the potential for something beautiful.

Clark Public Utilities earns recognition for its service

By Gordon Oliver March 9, 2014 6 a.m.

When it comes to customer services, Clark Public Utilities is playing in the big leagues.

BNSF touts investments in safety

By Gordon Oliver March 4, 2014 8:35 p.m.

BNSF Railway is investing millions of dollars in safety improvements on tracks and the purchase of new oil tanker cars, railroad officials told Clark County business leaders during an invitation-only meeting Tuesday. At the 90-minute session, the officials also promised to develop a more open relationship with the community as local residents debate a proposal for rail transport of oil to a transfer terminal at the Port of Vancouver.

Strictly Business: High-tech vibe can thrive here

By Gordon Oliver March 2, 2014 6 a.m.

On an early morning hike nine days ago, we climbed steep hills south of San Francisco to enjoy stunning views both of San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. Then we headed to the local Starbucks, in San Mateo, to round out our morning.

Laurelwood brewpub changes hands

By Gordon Oliver February 27, 2014 5:19 p.m.

When the owners of Portland-based Laurelwood Public House & Brewery decided to sell their popular Battle Ground location, Eric and Paula Starr saw an opportunity to fulfill a dream of owning their own business.

Strictly Business: High price of low-cost products

By Gordon Oliver February 23, 2014 6 a.m.

As Nordstrom prepares for a dignified but disappointing exit next year from Westfield Vancouver mall, and as Wal-Mart continues its aggressive expansion in the same market area, it's time to take a closer look at what these changes in retail offering say about our community.

Beef recall hits three Clark County sellers

By Gordon Oliver February 18, 2014 3:06 p.m.

Three Clark County businesses have been added to a list of retailers in six states that received meat products from Rancho Feeding Corp. of Petaluma, Calif., that have been recalled for being from "diseased and unsound animals."

Food trucks seek foothold in Clark County's eating scene

By Gordon Oliver February 16, 2014 6 a.m.

To those who love a taste of city life, there's something about the presence of food carts that makes a city feel real.

Vets' housing proposed at VA

By Gordon Oliver February 7, 2014 5:11 p.m.

A Florida-based developer has requested city review for an apartment complex at the Veterans Affairs campus in Vancouver.

Ryonet CEO to speak at PubTalk

By Gordon Oliver February 5, 2014 6 a.m.

It's not easy for businesses to grow up, and this month's Clark County PubTalk will offer advice from a Vancouver business veteran about what it takes to move from startup to solid footing.

Strictly Business: Advertisers gear up for big game

By Gordon Oliver February 2, 2014 6 a.m.

Big-time businesses are paying an average of $4 million to spend 30 seconds in your home during today's Super Bowl. The advertisers know who they'll find in front of the screens: a huge, attentive crowd of consumers.

Riverview posts sixth consecutive profitable quarter

By Gordon Oliver January 30, 2014 2:25 p.m.

Vancouver-based Riverview Bancorp, parent of Riverview Community Bank, has extended its profitability into a sixth consecutive quarter.

Energy Department appoints new BPA Administrator

By Gordon Oliver January 27, 2014 10:18 a.m.

Elliot Mainzer will head the regional hydropower marketing agency

Fourth quarter economic report: Housing uptick gives economy a boost

By Gordon Oliver January 26, 2014 6 a.m.

If you're in need of some good news in these uncertain times, look no further than Clark County's bustling housing market.

Panels explore different factions of local economy

By Aaron Corvin , Cami Joner and Gordon Oliver January 23, 2014 7:20 p.m.

The Columbian's 2014 Economic Forecast Breakfast featured three panel discussions on a range of local business topics, and a fourth panel discussion featuring local high school and college students. Here are some highlights from those discussions.

Strictly Business: American Dream hopes dim

By Gordon Oliver January 19, 2014 6 a.m.

In the tumultuous early years of the 20th century, hope was a scarce commodity for many Americans. Caught in the grip of poverty and far from imagining — let alone living — the American Dream, many among the nation's yearning masses turned to radical political parties and labor unions while the privileged few lived the life of the Great Gatsby.

Lacamas, iQ credit unions to merge

By Gordon Oliver January 15, 2014 7:05 p.m.

Two Southwest Washington credit unions say consolidation is tied to retirements of senior executives

Economic Forecast Breakfast features speakers, panels

By Gordon Oliver January 13, 2014 4:17 p.m.

The Clark County economy looks much healthier now than it did one year ago, but our uneven recovery is leaving far too many people behind.

Business leaders want state to hit the roads

By Gordon Oliver January 12, 2014 6 a.m.

Clark County's economic development wish list to the state Legislature, and maybe to voters, is for money to invest in road expansions and improvements, with additional funding for infrastructure and education added for good measure.

Six local business leaders share their objectives for 2014

By Gordon Oliver January 5, 2014 6 a.m.

The turning of the calendar page from Dec. 31 to Jan. 1 is no different from any other moment. Yet many of us use that moment, and the days that border it, as a time of serious personal reflection that sometimes leads to positive change.

Strictly Business: Workers to be in spotlight

By Gordon Oliver January 5, 2014 6 a.m.

Procrastination can be an enemy of progress, which is why we should make resolutions on New Year's Day and set goals during the rest of the year.

Gas prices may stabilize

By Gordon Oliver January 2, 2014 6 a.m.

Local gas prices fluctuated wildly during 2013, but experts in the highly volatile world of gas price trends are predicting slightly lower prices this year.

Carrie Schulstad's going back to Camas after year at B.G. chamber

By Gordon Oliver December 23, 2013 6 a.m.

Carrie Schulstad is leaving her job as head of the Battle Ground Chamber of Commerce and returning to the city where she began her civic activism, taking on the position of director of the Downtown Camas Association.

Clark County cuts funds for local chambers

By Gordon Oliver December 17, 2013 8:21 p.m.

Several Clark County chambers of commerce received unexpected holiday greetings Tuesday in the form of a letter from Clark County Administrator Mark McCauley, who informed the chambers that the county was not going to give them any money in 2014.

Business groups back Fred Meyer appeal bid

By Gordon Oliver December 17, 2013 6 a.m.

The National Federation of Independent Business and the Association of Washington Business have joined other organizations in asking the Washington Supreme Court to overrule an appeals court decision on a wage issue that arose from Portland-based Fred Meyer's use of janitorial contractors in the Puget Sound region.

Strictly Business: Santa FastPass hurries tradition

By Gordon Oliver December 15, 2013 6 a.m.

We all know about the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season. We fill our days and nights with gatherings of family and friends, decorating the home and trimming the tree, and shopping, shopping, shopping.

Frigid weather has not stopped local shoppers

By Gordon Oliver December 9, 2013 4:26 p.m.

Winter snow and ice are a sure-fire killer of Christmas retail sales, but a cold spell with dry roads apparently are not enough to keep shoppers indoors.

Gary Bock named to head contractors association

By Gordon Oliver December 6, 2013 10:29 a.m.

Bock replaces Mike Bomar, recently appointed to head CREDC

Portland-area economist says wait for next year

By Gordon Oliver December 5, 2013 5:03 p.m.

PORTLAND — When Portland-area economist John Mitchell recently spotted a Cadillac Escalade with a vanity license plate "Cubs Win," his mind naturally turned to economics.

Kyocera inks deal to make medical devices in Vancouver

By Gordon Oliver December 3, 2013 4:21 p.m.

Kyocera Industrial Ceramics Corp. will manufacture medical devices for Amedica Corp., a Salt Lake City-based biomaterials company, at Kyocera's Vancouver manufacturing facility, the two companies have announced.

Strictly Business: Boeing Machinist union not bad guy

By Gordon Oliver December 1, 2013 6 a.m.

Boeing surely must have figured it was offering its International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Machinist Union employees and Washington lawmakers a deal they would not -- they dared not -- refuse. But with as many as 20,000 future jobs on the line, all bets are now off.

Strictly Business: Corporate culture can nurture or discourage

By Gordon Oliver November 17, 2013 6 a.m.

It's common sport in our world to find someone to blame for whatever goes wrong. We have blogs, comment threats on news articles, and mind-numbing talk shows all focused on finding fault.