The story: Residents of Brownsville have been without a hometown financial institution since last June and have been in talks with Umpqua Bank about opening a store downtown.
The latest: Marie Fidler, Umpqua Bank area manager, said bank officials are still in the process of gathering information, receiving calls and holding individual meetings. "We look forward to continuing the conversation with the community and look forward to providing an update as we know more," the bank said in an official statement this week.
Albany time capsule
The story: Last fall, the city of Albany asked residents to contribute items to be placed inside a time capsule to celebrate the city’s 150th anniversary. Numerous items were donated, ranging from newspapers to personal computers. The time capsule was built by city councilor Rich Kellum and was made of titanium that was donated by the Zirconium Research Corporation. Kellum welded the cover shut.
The latest: The time capsule has been closed and is stored at City Hall, awaiting final placement. The city council has not decided on a final resting place, but the city hopes to construct a new fire station and police station if voters approved funding and either would make a good place, according to city spokeswoman Marilyn Smith.
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Oregon State Ecampus
The story: Oregon State University’s Ecampus has shown significant growth in recent years. During the 2010-11 school year 2,271 students were enrolled exclusively online. By the fall of 2014, that number had grown to 4,503. In addition, in October TheBestSchools.org named OSU’s Ecampus the best online education program in the state of Oregon. Ecampus also unveiled a “massive open online course,” or MOOC, this fall. It attracted 3,187 students from around the world.
The latest: The OSU Ecampus has been named the fifth best such program in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. OSU scored 95 points out of a possible 100 in the magazine’s analysis of nearly 300 higher education institutions. Ecampus delivers 19 undergraduate programs online, with new bachelor’s programs in business administration and Spanish. An additional 22 online programs are available at the graduate level. “Our mission is to provide learners with access to engaging quality programs that help them finish their degrees and advance in their careers,” said Lisa Templeton, Ecampus executive director. “Being highly ranked is particularly gratifying because the methodology weighs student engagement as the most important factor.”
The story: The Oregon State University Advantage Accelerator, an incubator for start-up businesses, opened in downtown Corvallis in 2013. The program is part of the South Willamette Valley Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network, also known as Oregon RAIN, a collaborative effort by OSU, the University of Oregon and the cities of Corvallis, Albany, Eugene and Springfield. Its aim is to launch and nurture new companies that can put area residents back to work.
The latest: The OSU Advantage Accelerator announced last week that five more start-ups have graduated from the program, bringing to 12 the total number of ventures that have moved out of the incubator and into their own quarters. The latest graduates are NRGIndependence, an energy storage technology firm; KW Associates, which provides technology to the specialty metals and industrial microwave fields; Bosky Optics, a maker of sunglasses and snowsport goggles using natural and recycled materials; TAPS, which makes chemicals to prevent corrosion in stainless steel; and Baker Seed Technologies, which is developing new coating technologies for the grass seed industry.