News Briefs

Unemployment, jobs up slightly

Washington's unemployment rate was up slightly in July while wage growth was above annual inflation.

Unemployment was at 5.7 percent, up from 5.4 percent in June. About 3,300 non-agricultural jobs were added in July, but the unemployment rate increased because more people are looking for work as fuel and other costs rise, according to the state Employment Security Department.

The total number of non-agricultural jobs in Washington in July was up 1 percent compared to the same time in 2007. Nationally, year-over-year jobs declined 0.05 percent. Industries in Washington with the largest job growth in July were government, retail and information. The largest declines were in finance and in professional and business services.

Port to spend $6 million on clean-up

The Port of Vancouver will spend nearly $6 million to expedite the cleanup of groundwater under its property and the Fruit Valley neighborhood.

Port commissioners unanimously approved a $2.1 million contract with Auburn, Wash.-based Parametrix Inc. and a $3 million contract with Yacolt-based Rotschy Inc. for construction of a groundwater pump and for other efforts to accelerate clean-up.

Project completion is expected by the end of April.

Groundwater contamination was discovered in 1997 during construction of the port's Mill Plain extension.

BG Chamber opens new office

The Battle Ground Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting at its new location Aug. 14. The chamber's new office doubles as a visitors' center in the retail center of Battle Ground Best Western Inn and Suites, 1419 W. Main St., Suite 110.


First Independent makes cuts

Vancouver-based First Independent announced it will cut about 15 jobs this month and reorganize to consolidate operations.

The eliminated positions are less than 5 percent of the bank's total staff and were in wholesale and retail banking, operations and administration.

The changes were a result of the slow economy and challenges in the finance industry, according to the bank. First Independent has assets of $957 million with 23 branches in Washington and two in Portland.


Washougal redesigns "E" Street

The city of Washougal began designs for its "E" Street improvements this month.

The road from Sixth to 32nd streets will get safety and accessibility improvements. Completion of the $8.6 million project is expected in the fall of 2010.

The city will seek public input on the project Aug. 20 to 23 at an exhibit at Washougal Town Square.


Vancouver Clinic lab gets accredited

The Vancouver Clinic has received accreditation from the Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Echocardiology Laboratories.

The local clinic's echocardiology lab is one of the first 1,000 of its kind in the nation to receive the accreditation, which is based on quality of patient care and diagnostic testing related to cardiovascular disease.


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