Biz Beat 10-29-2015

Local and regional solar companies will like this. The nonprofit Environment Oregon (EO) is pushing Eugene and other cities to “prioritize solar energy” through a petition that can be found at (click on “Go solar, Oregon”). The group says Oregon gets less than 1 percent of its energy from solar, “but local governments can play a big roll in repowering our state with clean, renewable solar energy.” How? By adopting proactive solar policies, including installation targets and streamlined permitting, and working with local solar companies to provide discounts though bulk buying campaigns. EO is working with the Oregon Energy Industries Association and recently held a lobby day in Salem to push for pro-solar legislation in the next Legislature. Many cities have adopted solar access codes to prevent new development from casting shadows on neighbors’ existing or potential solar amenities, but Eugene’s building codes are very weak regarding solar access.

Job opportunities for registered nurses are getting a boost in the area with the completion of the psychiatric hospital in Junction City and the anticipated $80 million expansion of McKenzie-Willamette Medical Center in Springfield, due to be completed in 2018. With these developments in mind, along with our aging population, the financial technology company SmartAsset has ranked the Eugene-Springfield metro area as fifth in the nation for nursing careers. “The Eugene area already added almost 300 nursing jobs in 2014 alone,” says the company. See

On a local note, however, not every aspiring nurse can get the required education. Nursing programs at Oregon colleges have a very limited number of openings and they are expensive to staff and operate. Oregon colleges turn away about 50 percent of qualified nursing school applicants, according to a story in the Portland Business Journal in 2012. Compounding the problem are the lack of instructors, classrooms and labs and the age of RNs currently on the job. About “25 percent of the 36,000 nurses licensed and practicing in Oregon expect to retire within 10 years,” according to the story.

ART for ALL (Animal Rescue Teaching for Any Level of Learner) will host a Halloween field day open house in celebration of its newly acquired 501(c)(3) nonprofit status from noon to 4 pm Saturday, Oct. 31, at 85671 Chezem Road outside Eugene. This is a free family event open to the community and will include costume dress-up rides with ponies, arts and crafts and treats. Owners are Tammy and Dan McNally. The nonprofit’s mission is to “rescue and rehabilitate animals using them for education of people young and old.” Call 556-2353 for more information.

Cynthia Hylton, senior health insurance benefits officer for Lane County, will speak at the meeting of Health Care for All Oregon Eugene Chapter from 7 to 9 pm Tuesday, Nov. 3, at First United Methodist Church, 13th and Olive in Eugene. Hylton will speak on current Medicare enrollment program options. Email for more information or visit

BRING Recycling is doing something different for Halloween. BRING’s Planet Improvement Center at 4446 Franklin Blvd. in Glenwood is inviting people to bring in leftover fruit from backyards and urban orchards from 11 am to 3 pm Saturday for a “scary fun community cider pressing.” WildCraft Cider Works will process the juice to create an artisanal cider that will be sold starting New Year’s Eve to benefit the Long Tom Watershed Council. Wear a costume to the event and get a 25 percent discount on most used merchandise at BRING.

BrightStar Care in-home care agency is a new business with offices at 935 Oak Street, Suite B, downtown. Owners of the franchise are local entrepreneurs Jennifer and Mark Ensminger. The business will “provide a range of compassionate, person-centered medical and non-medical care to people of all ages, from infants to seniors,” say the owners. Rachel Shipsey has been hired as director of nursing. The business is actively hiring and is expected to have 40-plus part-time and full-time certified nursing assistants and caregivers by year’s end. A grand opening celebration is scheduled for 1 to 4 pm Tuesday, Nov. 10. Call 632-7800 for more information.

Finding a Job After 50 is the topic at a free workshop at 5:30 pm Thursday, Nov. 5, at the Eugene Public Library downtown. Representatives from WorkSource Lane, Goodwill Industries, Experience Works and Lane Community College will share information and advice. Sponsored by Eugene Public Library and LCC Successful Aging Institute. Call 682-5450 or