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Scanning equipment firm leaves Portland

Nearly three years after moving its headquarters to Portland, PSC Inc., is moving to Bothell, Wash., near Seattle. The company makes bar-code scanners and other scanning equipment for retailers,

Chief Executive Officer Edward Borey said a combination of factors led to the decision, including cost-effectiveness, a larger technology base and cheaper airfare from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Ñ important to a company that has offices in 120 countries.

Ten employees in the company's Portland office will transfer to Bothell, he said.

The decision will not affect PSC's engineering and manufacturing plant in Eugene, which eventually will expand, Borey said.

PSC moved here from Webster, N.Y., early in 2001 because Portland's leasing rates were lower, Borey said.

'But the technology bubble burst in Seattle, and there's now a 45 percent vacancy rate in the Seattle tech corridor,' Borey said.

Other advantages to the Seattle area include larger investment banking and venture capital communities.

Burdened with a staggering $140 million debt, PSC recently reorganized after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Office market improves a little in second quarter

More of the Portland area's high-end commercial space filled up during the last three months, pushing the vacancy rate down slightly from the three-month period before that.

But a quarterly survey of the local office market also found that most renters were moving out of their lower-grade space and getting good deals from anxious landlords willing to take less money for upscale office space rather than having no income at all.

The survey from real estate firm Grubb & Ellis found that 17.5 percent of Class A space was vacant this past quarter, compared with 18.4 percent in the first three months of the year.

But the report, called Office Market Trends, Second Quarter 2003, also found that the shift to higher-grade, Class A space pulled tenants out of the lower Class B and C space. The quarter ended with 17.4 percent of the Class B space vacant, up from 16 percent; and 14.8 percent of the Class C real estate was empty, up from 13 percent in the first quarter.

Ñ Tribune staff