Power council changes

name to reflect new path

For more than 20 years it's been the Northwest Power Planning Council, but the four-state agency Ñ made up of members from Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana Ñ last week changed its name to the Northwest Power and Conservation Council.

The new name 'emphasizes the council's mission to balance the region's energy needs with fish and wildlife resources in the Columbia River Basin, as intended by the Northwest Power Act,' said Judy Danielson, the council's chairwoman.

The council was formed under the auspices of the Northwest Power Act of 1980, which stresses energy conservation as a cost-effective means of meeting future power demand.

The act also directs the council to prepare a program to 'mitigate and enhance fish and wildlife of the Columbia River Basin affected by hydropower dams while assuring the region an adequate, efficient, economical and reliable power supply.'

Semiconductor equipment

industry releases report

The book-to-bill ratio of North America-based semiconductor equipment manufacturers inched up slightly in June to 0.93 from 0.90 in May, which means $93 in new orders for chip-making equipment were placed (or booked) in the same period that $100 worth of existing orders were filled (or billed).

The ratio, calculated using a three-month moving average of bookings and billings, is a closely watched gauge on the health of the semiconductor industry and its acolytes, which employ about a third of Oregon's manufacturing workers. If the equipment industry is doing better, it's usually because its customers, the makers of computer chips, also are doing better.

While average billings fell to their lowest point since January 2002, new orders have stabilized, said Stanley Myers, president and chief executive officer of Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International, the global industry association of chip industry equipment makers.

This, he said, lends credence to predictions that the equipment market 'will begin recovery in the second half of the year.'

Albina Bancorp sees

boost in revenue

Albina Community Bancorp reported its net revenue increased 12 percent to $1.2 million in the third quarter ending June 30.

The company's net income, however, dropped to $71,884 from $188,770 for the same quarter last year.

Chief Executive Officer Robert McKean attributed the income decline to higher expenses for salaries and employees and costs related to its new Pearl District branch. In addition, the bank introduced a new Internet banking and corporate cash management system during the quarter.

Albina Community's assets increased 33 percent to $96 million. Loans totaled $70.4 million, up 23 percent or $13 million from last year.

Port adds service

to northern Europe

The Port of Portland has a new marine trade connection to northern Europe.

Med Pacific Express Service calls on Portland as part of an 11-day rotation of stops along the West Coast, as well as ports in Mexico, Central America and the Mediterranean. It now is adding Thamesport, England, and Rotterdam, Holland, to its route.

Exports through Portland to northern Europe that will benefit include primarily seeds for peas, beans and corn, plus grass seed, lumber and a variety of other regional products.

Steve Mickelson, the port's marine marketing manager, said Med Pacific is only the second all-water container service in the Northwest to call on ports in northern Europe.

Ñ Jeanie Senior, Kristina Brenneman, Harry Lenhart