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East Coast firm takes over

Portland-based PSC Inc.

Faced with a staggering debt of nearly $140 million, Portland-based PSC Inc., which makes self-checkout systems and other scanning equipment for retailers, has filed for bankruptcy and made a series of other moves to bring the company back to profitability.

Besides filing for Chapter 11 reorganization, PSC officials also sold the company's existing bank debt to Littlejohn & Co. LLC, a Connecticut firm.

PSC, whose stock now trades over the counter, will become private under the plan, with Littlejohn taking control of more than 95 percent of its shares, said PSC senior counsel Frank MacMurray.

Current stockholders will see their stock shares wiped out, but 'PSC's existing customers will continue to have products to buy, our suppliers will continue to have us as a customer, and our employees will continue to work,' MacMurray said.

PSC has a worldwide work force of 778, with 580 of those employees at its manufacturing facilities in Eugene and 10 in the Portland office.

Four names surface

for OPUC post

Gov. Ted Kulongoski is reportedly eyeing four moderates to replace Joan Smith on the Oregon Public Utility Commission.

Smith was nudged out the door when Kulongoski did not accept her offer to remain on the three-person regulatory board.

Among the names being floated to energy consumer groups are Ray Baum, a La Grande Republican who is a former House majority leader and friend of Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Ore.; Jeanne Arana, administrator of the community resources division for the state Housing and Community Services Department; Randy Franke, a former Marion County commissioner who ran against Peter Courtney; and Leanne Bleakney, who served as chief of staff for former Senate President Gene Derfler, R-Salem.

Kulongoski spokeswoman Mary Ellen Glynn said the governor has no short list of nominees yet.

In the past, consumer groups have accused the commission of being pro-utility.

'We hope the new commissioner brings new balance to the commission,' said attorney Melinda Davison, who represents Industrial Customers of Northwest Utilities.

Meanwhile, Associated Industries of Oregon developed its own list of candidates, which included Baum and Bleakney, as well as Sen. Dave Nelson, R-Pendleton, and Don Dauterman, chief executive officer of Dura Metals in Tualatin.

Scottish Power subsidiary

will move to west side

PPM Energy, a subsidiary of Scottish Power, will move in September to a Brewery Blocks building at 1125 N.W. Couch St.

The 120-employee company, which now occupies 16,000 square feet at Liberty Centre in the Lloyd District, signed a 10-year lease.

PPM spokeswoman Jan Johnson said the company plans to take over twice that space, 33,290 square feet, at the new location.

Ñ Kristina Brenneman and Mary Bellotti