Business

Business
4:10 pm
Mon June 6, 2011

Rent your car to a stranger?

Portlander Eric Loebel hopes to rent out his Volvo S80 through a car sharing service.
Colin Fogarty Northwest News Network

Your car may be your most-prized personal possession, but the vast majority of the time it's parked not doing anything. Now, several startup companies propose to help you capitalize on your car's downtime by renting it to perfect strangers.

Following the example set by California last year, the Oregon Legislature is set to tweak its insurance rules to smooth the road for person-to-person car rentals. One company already has hundreds of registered users across the Pacific Northwest, even though the service has not officially launched in that region. And, another company plans to include Washington state this summer.

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Business
4:12 pm
Fri June 3, 2011

Foreign visitors to Washington, Seattle jump more than 30 percent

New air routes from Seattle to Iceland and Asia have helped increase the percentage of visitors from overseas to Washington state and Seattle by more than 30 percent.
Shawn McClung Flickr

New air services connecting Seattle to Iceland and Asia have helped Washington state lead the nation in attracting visitors from overseas, according to the U.S. Commerce Department and Seattle's Convention and Visitors Bureau. Tying with Nevada for the highest percentage growth in foreign visitors from 2009 to 2010, Washington state visits increased by 32 percent compared with an 11-percent growth nationally.

Among top U.S. cities, Seattle and Los Angeles led with a 33-percent increase in attracting foreign visitors. Other cities with double-digit increases were Las Vegas with 31 percent; Atlanta, 25 percent, and San Diego, 24 percent.

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seattle center neighborhood
6:01 am
Fri June 3, 2011

Gates' "conspicuous" new building

Melinda Gates speaks at the opening reception of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle.The foundation formally opened the new headquarters Thursday evening.
Elaine Thompson AP

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is trying to make its work more conspicuous.  That’s one explanation the billionaire couple gave for its new campus during a grand-opening event Thursday night.

About a thousand people packed into the campus' new grand atrium, which has a wall of glass four stories tall. 

Bill Gates spoke briefly, thanking his parents for setting an example of civic volunteerism. He quickly turned the microphone to his wife, saying, "The person who really had responsibility was Melinda, and let me thank her as I invite her to the stage."

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seattle center
3:08 pm
Thu June 2, 2011

Gates family, employees celebrate opening of new campus

The Gates Foundation's new headquarters in Seattle is meant to look "bold."
Tom Paulson KPLU-Humanosphere

More than a thousand workers at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have moved into their new campus across the street from Seattle Center. Celebrations are planned tonight (Thursday) and this weekend. Foundation leaders say they want to be more visible to the public.

(A public open-house is this Saturday, from 10am-4pm. Advance registration is required, here.)

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Mergers and Acquisitions
6:57 pm
Wed June 1, 2011

Soon to be official: Walgreens' acquisition of Drugstore.com

Investors in Bellevue-based drugstore.com gather Thursday for their annual shareholder meeting. It's likely the last time they'll meet there. 

The online-retailer is being acquired by its biggest brick and mortar competitor: Illinois-based Walgreens. 

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Beer
2:02 pm
Wed June 1, 2011

Small craft breweries hopping in Poulsbo

Mark Hood, left, and Brad Ginn of Sound Brewing in Poulsbo.
seattebeernews.com

At the beginning of the year Poulsbo had no breweries. Now it has four.

The breweries produce small batches in kegs. None are bottling yet, but they hope to grow.

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Rea Estate
11:49 am
Tue May 31, 2011

Home-price index continues to drop, but Seattle prices rise

A sign promotes a newly-sold home in Seattle. Home prices continue to fall across most of America's largest cities. Only Seattle and Washington, D.C. bucked the trend.
Elaine Thompson AP

Home prices in major markets around the U.S. dropped to their lowest levels since 2006 in March. But not in Seattle.

After falling almost two percent in February, Seattle home prices were up a modest 0.1 percent in March, but still down 7.5 percent compared to March 2010.

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urban growth
9:59 pm
Mon May 30, 2011

Gates Foundation big campus opens across from Seattle Center

NBBJ Architects

Everything about the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is looking big these days.

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Tough Times
7:19 am
Fri May 27, 2011

Grays Harbor Paper closing Hoquiam mill

Hoquiam's skyline, in better days. Grays Harbor Paper is closing its mill there, eliminating 240 'green' jobs in a county with unemployment already at nearly 15%.
Photo by MïK Flickr

Grays Harbor Paper has shut down its mill in Hoquiam, putting a dour end to what had been a success story for 18 years. 

240 workers are losing their jobs. Many were shocked by the announcement, according to King-5 news.

“I thought this place was going to be in for the long haul,” said Tony Harris, who had worked for Grays Harbor Paper for two years.

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Technology
5:14 pm
Mon May 23, 2011

Seattle's Pioneer Square could get internet boost

Workers lay conduit under First Avenue South. The pipe belongs to the city, but Mayor Mike McGinn wants to allow private companies to use it to bring faster internet service to small businesses and residential customers.
Charla Bear KPLU

A new effort could make internet speeds 100 times faster for some small businesses and residential customers in Seattle. Mayor Mike McGinn announced a plan to bring fiber optic broadband to Pioneer Square as part of an ongoing effort to revitalize the neighborhood.

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ECONOMIC RECOVERY
2:30 pm
Wed May 18, 2011

Washington state jobless rate drops to 9.1 percent

Job-seeker Julian Richards fills out an employment application during a job fair in Tacoma in April. Washington state has added over 41,000 jobs in the past year.
Ted S. Warren AP

Washington's jobless rate is down to 9.1 percent after the state added an estimated 5,800 jobs in April.

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digital displays
8:35 am
Wed May 18, 2011

No new billboards in Tacoma during moratorium

The potential for new electronic billboards has brought an overwhelming negative response from Tacoma residents. So, the Tacoma City Council has approved a six-month moratorium on all billboards in the city, while a new policy is worked out.  

That reverses a legal settlement with Clear Channel. The company negotiated an agreement to put up new digital billboards in exchange for removing hundreds of traditional ones. Now, that agreement is on hold and the company is threatening to return to litigation.

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Business of Technology
5:54 pm
Tue May 10, 2011

Analysts say Microsoft should keep Skype as-is in company's biggest-ever acquisition

Will Skype phones such as this one become completely obsolete or just outmoded as the Microsoft deal goes through?
Image courtesy of voipnovatos.es

Microsoft's biggest acquisition ever might have people in the region worrying about layoffs. Often when companies merge, redundant workers get pink slips.

But it sounds like employees of the Redmond tech giant don't have much cause for concern with Microsoft's $8.5-billion purchase of Skype.

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McGuire Apartments
5:35 pm
Fri May 6, 2011

Demolition of a nearly-new Seattle tower

Demolition begins on the garage of the McGuire Apartments tower, in Seattle.
Keith Seinfeld KPLU

One of the most prominent demolition jobs since the Kingdome imploded is underway in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood. This time, there will be no explosion, and the building is private instead of public. 

The 25-story McGuire Apartments saga is a sad one, says Doug Lo, a Belltown resident who was snapping photos with his phone, from across the street, at 2nd Ave. and Vine St.

"It's a nice building, and in this modern age, you'd think they would have built it correctly, from the get-go," he said.

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Transportation
9:23 am
Fri May 6, 2011

Kids break piñata, officials break ground to celebrate future bridge

The Mariachi Band Ayutla in front of the closed South Park Bridge. One man tells Bellamy, "I love to kayak and we've had the river to ourselves," so there's a bright side to the troubles the neighborhood's seen with restaurants closing and no access.
Photo by Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU News

A gigantic bridge-shaped piñata spewed more than four hundred pounds of candy last night in south Seattle. It was part of the Cinco de Mayo celebration going on in the city's South Park neighborhood. 

Earlier in the day, officials broke ground on a new $130-million-dollar bridge that's going to re-connect that community to major highways.

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