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Archives: May 2008


Attorney General’s Office challenges PSE’s rate increase

The Washington State Attorney General’s Office has challenged proposed gas and electric rate increases by Puget Sound Energy, saying they are unjustified.

PSE’s rate increases would generate an additional $237 million in revenue, according to a news release from the AGO today.

Simon ffitch, chief of the AGO’s Public Counsel Section, said the utility’s request is much larger than is needed to cover its costs.

“PSE’s customers have been hit hard recently with frequent rate hikes – it’s important that this increase be no more than absolutely necessary,” ffitch said.

The state

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Oregon lumber yard expands to Pierce County

A 78-year-old Oregon-based lumber company will open its first Pierce County lumberyard Monday in Frederickson.

Parr Lumber’s new yard at 5301 184th St. E. is the second lumberyard for Parr in the Puget Sound area. The company has another yard in Everett.

Parr has cabinet outlets in Fife, Seattle and Lynwood.

Parr was established in 1930 by accountant Dwight Parr Sr. who opened a lumberyard in Vancouver, Wa. The company remains family-owned run by the founder’s grandsons, Michael Parr and Brad Farmer.

The company has 41 facilities

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Port container volume down as expected

The country’s economic slowdown is playing out at the Port of Tacoma.

Container volume was down by 5.8 percent in the first quarter of this year, according to Tong Zhu, the port’s commercial strategy director.

Zhu presented the first quarter results to the port commission Thursday as part of a cargo forecast and budget update.

The dip is driven by an expected decline of international imports as some of the region’s main importers grapple with fallout from the national housing downturn and credit crunch.

“A lot of the decrease is because West Coast ports

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United leaves Alaska

Troubled United Airlines announced today that it will halt flying to Anchorage, Alaska beginning Sept. 21.

The Chicago-based carrier is trimming its schedule to eliminate unprofitable routes as it struggles with high fuel costs.

United connected its Denver hub with Anchorage.

The move is good news for SeaTac’s Alaska Airlines, the dominant carrier to Anchorage. Alaska flies to Anchorage from Sea-Tac, Vancouver, San Francisco, Portland, Los Angeles, Denver and Chicago as well as from Hawaii.


Boeing 2008 airliner orders pass 400

Boeing added 30 orders to its backlog this week bringing the total of new airliner orders for the company to 408 for the year.

Those 30 new orders are for 737s to unidentified customers. Boeing also revealed that three 777 orders attributed to unidentified customers came from Air France.

Those additional orders bring the total of 737 orders this year to 291. The 787 remains in second place in the order race at Boeing with 79 orders for the year. In third is the 777 with 36 new orders.

The 747 has won two orders, while the

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Weyerhaeuser says it won’t spin off timber – right now

To all those investors who want Weyerhaeuser to spin off its timber assets, the company says not right now.

The Federal Way-based forest products company told investors and analysts today that converting its trees to a real estate investment trust as early as next year wouldn’t be tax efficient, Bloomberg News reports

"That does not preclude the REIT option in 2010," Chief Financial Officer Patricia Bedient said today in a presentation to investors in New York.

Weyerhaeuser’s sale of its divisions including fine paper and corrugated packaging prompted speculation that the company would spin off the trees to reduce taxes on profits from timberlands.

"We’re patient, maybe too patient, but we still think the value of the timberland will be shown over time," Russell Croft, who helps manage $725 million at Croft Leominster Inc., said today in a telephone interview from Baltimore with Bloomberg News.

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Amazon adds to Kindle catalog

Now that Amazon has lots of Kindle devices available for consumers, the company is announcing that it’s adding to the number of books you can read on it.

Simon & Schuster Inc. will make 5,000 additional titles available this year. The titles include new releases and bestsellers and “represent the vast majority of sales from the publisher’s catalog,” the companies said in a release.

We’ll see if we can get a list of some of the books that will be available and post them later today.


Amtrak’s reaping the benefits of $4 gas

On the way back from Portland Monday, Amtrak’s Cascades train was so crowded that the conductor was seating paying passengers at dining car tables because all the regular coach seats were full.

While the holiday helped created a nearly standing-room-only situation, Amtrak trains, both here in the Northwest and across the country, have been operating closer to capacity all year.

New figures show that nationwide Amtrak ridership is up 11 percent this fiscal year. And in the Northwest, ridership has been up steadily January through April.

Amtrak figures show patronage on the six daily Cascades trains that

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