Business Briefs


U.S. Bank names

new Oregon chief

Joseph Otting has been named the new president of U.S. Bank in Oregon, succeeding John Rickman, who retired Dec. 31 after more than 38 years of service.

Otting previously was executive vice president and group head of commercial banking at the Union Bank of California, where he had worked for more than 15 years.

During his tenure at Union Bank, he had worked in corporate and middle market commercial banking, commercial finance, equity sponsored lending, global trade activities and owner-occupied real estate lending.

Union Bank, a subsidiary of San Francisco-based UnionBanCal, is the third-largest commercial bank in California.

Otting 'is committed to providing quality customer service to the individuals and businesses we serve in the region,' said Jerry Grundhofer, president and chief executive officer of Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp, the eighth-largest financial services holding company in the country and the parent company of U.S. Bank in Portland.

Silicon Forest, suburbs hit

hard by climbing vacancies

The Sunset Corridor continues to have the highest vacancy rate in the Portland commercial real estate market.

The business area, which stretches from the Sunset Highway to Tualatin Valley Highway, saw a 4.3 percent increase in vacancies in the fourth quarter to 41.3 percent, according to the report by Cushman & Wakefield of Oregon Inc.

The east suburban market saw the highest increase in vacancies, jumping from 11.8 percent to 16.2 percent.

Downtown vacancies increased slightly, from 9.3 percent to 11.2 percent, as did the west suburban market, up 2.7 percent to 19.2 percent. Vacancies in the industrial market, by comparison, increased by 5 percent, to 15 percent, said Tony Reser, a director at Cushman.

The feeling is that the worst may be over, said Terry Shanley, managing director for the commercial real estate brokers. 'We're hearing that recovery is going to be soon,' he said.

Much of the increased space on the market is because of companies that overestimated their growth and now are having to sublease.

To lure tenants, landlords are resorting to shortened lease terms and other concessions, Reser said. 'Free rent was a dirty word until recently,' he said. 'They're basically looking for warm bodies to put in buildings.'

Parking attendants OK local

industry's first labor pact

Employees of Diamond Parking Service have broken new ground by negotiating the Portland parking lot industry's first union contract.

The three-year agreement will provide parking lot attendants and valets guaranteed pay raises, first-time employer retirement contributions, a grievance procedure that protects against unfair treatment and unjust firings, paid vacations, holidays, hospital leave and seniority rights to parking lot attendants and valets.

The workers, a majority of them recent immigrants from Africa and Eastern Europe, with help from the Workers' Organizing Committee, formed the Urban Workers Union and affiliated themselves with Teamsters Local 206.

'It's a foot in the door,' said Roger Finney, a Diamond lot attendant. 'It's the only contract in the industry, and we now have the best pay and benefits. The best part of the contract is the grievance procedure. The boss doesn't have the last word. We can go to arbitration.'

Midakssa Tura, an organizer for the Workers' Organizing Committee, called the contract 'an unprecedented victory for low-wage immigrant workers in the industry. Organizing one company sent a message to the entire industry. Now the bar has been raised for parking lot workers all over Portland.'

ÑÊKristina Brenneman and Daniel J. Curran