Photo Credit: Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

This month's auction of state-run liquor stores in Washington raked in nearly $31 million. The state liquor control board revealed the winning bidders Monday.

Photo credit: © BP p.l.c. / BP

Oregon has filed a securities lawsuit against the petrochemical giant, BP.  The state wants to recover investment losses triggered by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill two years ago.

The lawsuit alleges that investors, like the state, were misled about the safety of deep water drilling. Lawyers say BP made 'materially false' and 'misleading' statements. James Sinks of the Oregon State Treasury says state lawyers did their due diligence before filing, and are confident.

Photo courtesy Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines and its subsidiary Horizon Air continue to make money despite sharply higher fuel prices. Executives with the Seattle based airline group Thursday reported a twelfth consecutive quarterly profit. CEO elect Brad Tilden says the 28 million dollar net profit in this year's first quarter is "marginally" smaller than the same quarter last year.

Brad Tilden: "Given this quarter's solid results and the current demand environment, we're cautiously optimistic about 2012. The biggest headwind is high fuel prices and their impact both on our cost structure and on the pocketbooks of our customers."

A day after Oregon delivered a virtually unchanged monthly jobs report for March, neighboring Washington did the same. Washington's employment department pegged the state's unemployment rate last month at 8.3 percent. That's the same as the revised rate for February.

The Port of Coos Bay is negotiating with three companies interested in building a coal export facility on Oregon’s South Coast. Through interviews and records requests, EarthFix has learned the identities of two companies involved in the deal. Amelia Templeton reports.

Coos Bay is one of six ports in the northwest pursuing a deal to build a coal export terminal. The coal would come from mines in Montana and Wyoming. If the companies reach a deal with the port, it won’t be the first time coal is big business on Oregon’s south coast.

Photo credit: Wikimedia user M.O. Stevens / Wikimedia Commons

Oregon's unemployment rate edged down to 8.6 percent in March, essentially unchanged from 8.7 percent the month before. At 8.6 percent, Oregon's unemployment rate is higher than the national average. It stands at 8.2 percent.

But Employment Department Spokesman, Tom Fuller, says Oregon's economy appears to be improving, and fewer and fewer people are claiming unemployment insurance.

A prominent wind energy company – with North American headquarters in the Pacific Northwest – may be acquired by a rival Chinese corporation. Correspondent Courtney Flatt has more.

A Danish newspaper is reporting that two Chinese companies are considering takeover bids for Vestas Wind Systems. The Danish firm’s North American headquarters are based in Portland.

Vestas has faced financial trouble over the past year. The company’s chairman and chief financial officer resigned in February.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington lawmakers missed a midnight deadline Tuesday night to rebalance the state budget. But they didn’t go home. Instead, Governor Chris Gregoire called yet another overtime session. At this hour, lawmakers are still voting on a final budget deal. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins has the latest.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – It’s the final day of Washington’s 30-day special session. But still no deal on a plan to rebalance the state budget and pass a series of government reform measures. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins reports closed door talks broke up late Monday night.

A weary Governor Chris Gregoire held a news conference just before midnight.

Gregoire: “We’ve made progress over 11 hours, but we’re not done and everybody’s still working.”’

Photo by Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

PORTLAND - The Northwest has long been a draw for people moving here from other parts of the United States. That continues to be a key driver of the region’s economy. Despite high unemployment rates, Oregon and Washington still lure folks from the Midwest and elsewhere. And they bring in new money and job skills. In a collaboration with public radio's Changing Gears, Chris Lehman introduces us to some rust belt transplants to the Northwest.

Photo credit: Oregon Office of the Governor

Monica Enand runs the Oregon start-up 'Zapproved,' which makes legal software.  She thinks the 'Oregon Investment Act' will be a shot in the arm for new small businesses.

Monica Enand: "In the very beginning, especially in Oregon, it's tough to get any kind of investment dollars to get things rolling and get off the ground."

Photo credit: Wikimedia user Umptanum / Wikimedia Commons

RICHLAND, Wash. – Newly released U.S. Census numbers show the Tri-Cities, Washington, is the fastest growing metro area in the United States. The population increased 4.3% between 2010 and 2011. Jobs at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, stable agricultural prices and the sun appear to be drawing more families to the Tri-Cities.

Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Thousands of long-term unemployed workers in Washington and Oregon will no longer receive unemployment checks soon. The federal government won't pay for extended benefits anymore because the jobless rates have improved in both states.

Boise State Public Radio

Horizon Air will be establishing new inland northwest bases of operation starting in August. The airline plans to expand to three Northwest cities.

Horizon Air now bases its flight crews in Seattle and Portland. By the end of the summer, its nearly 900 pilots and flight attendants will also call Boise, Idaho, Medford, Oregon and Spokane, Washington home. Paul McElroy is a spokesman for the airline.

COOS BAY, Ore. -- An engineering study found that a rail line between Coos Bay and Eugene needs about $100 million worth of work before it can handle heavier train traffic. The study was paid for by anonymous investors interested in exporting coal from Coos Bay. Amelia Templeton reports.

The Port of Coos Bay bought the line in 2009, after it was shut down by a Florida company.

It’s been back in service for less than a year, moving small amounts of freight for sawmills and timber companies.

ASTORIA, Ore. -- Changes are afoot at a liquefied natural gas project near Astoria. Amelia Templeton reports.

COOS BAY, Ore. -- Federal regulators visited the site of a proposed liquefied natural gas facility near Coos Bay, Oregon Wednesday. Regulators say the Jordan Cove energy project will need to submit a new application now that it is proposing to export natural gas instead of importing it. Amelia Templeton reports.

Photo credit: Timothy Ellis/Flickr / Northwest News Network

Home prices continue to fall in the Northwest. New figures released show yet another drop in both Seattle and Portland.

The S&P/Case-Schiller Index measures housing prices in 20 large metropolitan areas around the country. The newest figures are through January and in them, both Seattle and Portland hit new lows for the current economic downturn. Average home prices in both cities are down about four percent from a year ago. Steve Thoele is an agent with Keller-Williams Realty in Portland. He blogs about housing trends in Oregon.

Photo by Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The 85-cent ATM fee that JPMorgan Chase charges Washington welfare clients could soon be a thing of the past. The state hopes to have a deal by the end of the month with JPMorgan on a new, lower cost contract for electronic benefits. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins has this update.

Wash. Unemployment Rate At 8.2%

Mar 21, 2012

Improvements to Washington’s job market will likely mean a shrink in unemployment benefits. Last month the state added an estimated 4,200 jobs, improving the unemployment rate by .2% since January. It’s now at 8.2%.

Photo by Ashley Ahearn / Northwest News Network

BELLINGHAM -- SSA Marine has submitted a permit application to build a bulk export terminal in Bellingham.

If approved, the terminal will be large enough to handle up to 54 million metric tons per year.

That could include wheat and grains but the majority will be coal. It will be delivered by train from mines in Wyoming and Montana – and then shipped out of Washington to Asian markets.


Photo credit Wikimedia user M.O. Stevens / Wikimedia Commons

Oregon's unemployment rate remained unchanged last month, according to new numbers from the state Tuesday. Officials say the 8.8 percent  jobless rate is the lowest in Oregon since November 2008. Employment department economist Nick Beleiciks says the non-farm payroll lost 6,400 jobs. But he says despite what he called “surprising” job losses, the employment picture is slowly improving.

Harvey McDaniel / Wikimedia

The west coast is poised for a dramatic uptick in so-called "clean economy" jobs. That's the prediction issued Wednesday by the leaders of Oregon, Washington, California and British Columbia. But as Correspondent Chris Lehman reports, it's not clear if the region can actually pull it off.

Fifty-three people died on the job in Washington state last year. It was the least deadly year in Washington workplaces in three decades.

SPOKANE -- The Spokane Tribe of Indians just received a list of federal guidelines for their proposed casino project in Airway Heights. Along with the document came a new round of opposition. Paige Browning has more.

Fed Shrugged Off Warnings, Let Banks Pay Shareholders Billions

Mar 6, 2012
Photo by Dan Smith / Wikimedia Commons

In early November 2010, as the Federal Reserve began to weigh whether the nation's biggest financial firms were healthy enough to return money to their shareholders, a top regulator bluntly warned: Don't let them.

Tension Lingers After Coup In Washington Senate

Mar 6, 2012
Photo by Wikimedia User Visitor7 / Wikimedia Commons

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Tension lingers in Olympia as Washington legislators head into what is supposed to be the last week of session. The task of re-balancing the state budget was put into disarray on Friday when Republicans and centrist Democrats took over the state Senate.

Photo by M.O. Stevens / Wikimedia Commons

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon lawmakers wrapped up their 2012 legislative session after dark Monday night. One of the last bills they signed off on was a measure to slow the pace of home foreclosures. Salem Correspondent Chris Lehman reports.

SALEM, Ore. -- Oregon lawmakers have passed legislation to help six southern Oregon counties that are near insolvency. The bill allows the counties to dip into money currently socked away in road maintenance funds. Amelia Templeton reports.