PDX Update


News of Portland in brief


Workers buy paper firm

The local Blue Heron Paper Co. now is a wholly employee-owned business.

Company President Mike Siebers said employees closed a deal this week to buy the company from a New York venture capital company. Since 2000, the employees had owned 40 percent of the company and the KPS Special Situations Fund owned the other 60 percent.

'This is a very good move for the future of the company,' Siebers said. 'It makes a very flexible, nimble company whose employees have a lot of incentives to increase its values.

Details of the purchase are being kept confidential.

The company employs about 375 workers. It specializes in producing paper with a high percentage of recycled content at mills in Oregon City and Pomona, Calif. Together, the mills produce about 360,000 metric tons of paper annually and gross about $250 million a year, according to Siebers.

The Smurfit Stone Container Corp. sold the Oregon City mill to the employees and KPS in 2000, creating the Blue Heron Paper Co., which bought the Pomona mill from Smurfit Group PLC in 2005.


Park patrols to increase

Partly in response to an increase in graffiti and vandalism at Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park and the Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade, Commissioner Dan Saltzman has asked the City Council to allow Portland Parks and Recreation to hire two new security guards to patrol the areas and Couch Park in Northwest Portland.

Saltzman said a majority of the council supports the request, which will be formally considered next week.

'The livability of downtown is at a critical juncture, and we must continue to maintain the highest level of safety and cleanliness in our parks,' Saltzman said.

Under the terms of a city-approved agreement that began in 1997, the security personnel would be provided by Portland Patrol Inc., which is under contract with the Portland Business Alliance. The officers would patrol the parks from 7 a.m. to midnight and have backup help available if necessary. One of the officers would be armed.

Group has new leader

The neighborhood association representing downtown residents has unexpectedly changed officers in the middle of its fight against the design of the Ladd Tower condominiums, proposed along the South Park Blocks.

Steve Trujillo, the new president of the Downtown Neighborhood Association, said the change does not alter the association's position that the design encroaches too much on the park blocks, which run from Portland State University to Southwest Salmon Street.

Former President Rose Ann Clementi was elected in June but resigned the next month for personal reasons. Trujillo, then the group's vice president, replaced her on an interim basis until earlier this month, when the association board voted to make him the permanent president.

Representatives of the association recently told the Portland Design Review Commission that the Ladd Tower should be set farther back from Southwest Park Avenue and open onto Southwest Broadway. The commission asked the developers to submit a modified proposal. About 40 percent of the condos planned for the tower already have been sold.

Future is topic of talks

Mayor Tom Potter will discuss Portland's future - including potential changes to the neighborhood association system - with the association chairs this weekend.

The meeting will run from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Concordia University, 2811 N.E. Holman St.

- Tribune staff