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Income gap widens

fastest in Oregon

The gap between the richest Oregonians and the state's middle-income families grew faster in the 1990s than in any other state, according to a new study by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities and the Economic Policy Institute, both based in Washington, D.C.

The income of the wealthiest 20 percent of Oregon's families grew 3.4 percent annually on average during the decade, while middle-income families eked out average gains of just 0.7 percent.

The poorest 20 percent fell behind the richest faster in Oregon than any state but Connecticut in the last decade.

Low-income families saw their average annual income fall by nearly $1,000, while upper-income families saw an increase of nearly $36,000 annually on average and had incomes 10 times higher than the lowest 20 percent.

Economist Jeff Thompson with the Oregon Center for Public Policy, in Silverton, says incomes in Oregon were pulled in both directions:Êdown for the people at the low end and up ÑÊmore than the national average ÑÊfor the state's wealthiest.

Thompson says the state's embrace of high tech played a role in the disparity, rewarding some people but providing little for workers in more traditional manufacturing jobs.

Museum Co. store

pulls the plug

The Museum Co. store in Pioneer Place mall will close in the next few months because its parent company filed for bankruptcy.

All but 47 of the New York corporation's stores will close; the remainder, including the store at Washington Square, were sold to The San Francisco Music Box Co. and will remain open.

The Pioneer Place store, on the ground floor of the mall near Southwest Yamhill Street, will close when its stock is sold.

Merged groups

pick new name

The organization that will result from the July merger of the Association for Portland Progress and the Portland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce has a name: the Portland Business Alliance.

A committee made up of an equal number of members from each organization unanimously approved the name. A new logo, list of officers, mission and objectives of the alliance are in the works.

The new organization will be headed by Franklin 'Kim' Kimbrough, now executive director of the Association for Portland Progress. He will oversee 41 employees and an annual budget of $11 million.

Ñ Tribune staff