Expanding softball tourney lands Mayor’s Award

The ASA Valley South College Exposure Softball Tournament received the Mayor’s Award at Monday’s Chamber of Medford/Jackson County Forum.
The award goes to an organization which has done an exceptional job of promoting and bringing visitors to Medford.
Mike Wells, the state commissioner and chief executive of Oregon ASA Softball, brought the tournament to Medford in 2011, attracting 51 teams. Last year the tournament attracted 70 teams, spreading beyond the confines of U.S. Cellular Park to local high school venues.
The tournament brought in 1,200 players and coaches to the Rogue Valley and produced nearly $200,000 in spending by visitors.

Somehow, these two releases go hand-in-hand. One from Portland activist organization OSPIRG and the other from Oregon Automobile Club (the web link is difficult to follow, I’m told by AAA so here it is:

“Tight supplies and refinery issues on the West Coast are sending retail gas prices dramatically higher in this region. The national average for regular unleaded adds six cents this week to $3.58, which is the largest weekly increase since February. The Oregon average soars a quarter to $3.93. which is the largest week-over-week increase since February 2012 when the Oregon average jumped 24 cents.” AAA Oregon/Idaho Public Affairs Director Marie Dodds says, “With gasoline supplies already at low levels to start May, the recent planned and unplanned refinery maintenance on the West Coast has exacerbated an already sensitive situation, resulting in higher retail prices for drivers.”
The Oregon average has now set a new peak price for the year, eclipsing the previous peak 2013 price to date of $3.80 a gallon on March 13. California, Oregon and Washington are all back in the top ten most expensive states for gasoline, and California and Oregon are in the top five, at third and fifth place, respectively. Washington is sixth.
The national average is currently 21 cents below the peak 2013 price to date of $3.79 on Feb. 27. In 2012, the national average for regular unleaded peaked at $3.94 on April 5 and 6, and the Oregon average peaked at $4.27 on June 1. In 2011, the national average peaked at $3.98 on May 5 and the Oregon average peaked at $3.97 on May 6.
Data released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration on May 1 reported West Coast gasoline supplies down for the 12th consecutive week at 25.9 mil barrels for the week ending April 26. This was 2.36 million barrels lower than the same week last year and the first time that seasonal inventories for the region have been below 26 mil barrels in 14 years. Gasoline inventories rose slightly in last week’s report, and are back above last year’s level, but still remain low.
With supplies already tight, several refineries have dealt with issues or were down for maintenance. This list of refinery issues includes:
• Tesoro refinery in Anacortes, Wash., dealing with fluid catalytic cracker difficulties earlier this week following extensive maintenance work that began in early March.
• Shell refinery in Martinez, Calif., on Monday had to shut a unit due to a valve leak.
• Exxon Mobil began a multi-unit turnaround at its Torrance, Calif., refinery last week.
• Phillips 66 refinery in Ferndale, Wash., was reported Monday to have a crude unit issue.

The monthly Global Port Tracker put out by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates anticipates import volume at major retail container ports will rise 3.3 percent year-over-year gain in May.
Nonetheless, growth could trickle to a standstill by the end of the summer.
“The weak cargo increases expected over the next few months are consistent with other signs that the economy is slowly improving but show that retailers remain cautious, especially when it comes to stocking their inventories,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “We’re looking at barely 1 percent of year-over-year growth through the early summer, and August and September are expected to be basically flat even though they’re supposed to be two of the busiest months of the years.”
Tepid consumer confidence, flat employment growth and less money in shoppers’ pockets following the payroll tax hike have combined to stunt retail sales growth.
NRF said the amount of merchandise imported provides a rough barometer of retailers’ expectations. That’s because cargo import numbers do not correlate directly with retail sales or employment because they count only the number of cargo containers brought into the country, not the value of the merchandise inside them.
U.S. ports followed by Global Port Tracker handled 1.14 million Twenty-foot Equivalent Units in March, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was down 10.9 percent from February and 8.6 percent from March 2012. One TEU is one 20-foot cargo container or its equivalent.

Closer to home, owner Gregg Sorensen has reached the 30-year milestone at Southern Oregon Subaru, including the past 18 years, on Biddle Road.
The Subaru dealership opener in downtown Medford in 1983 with Volvo added to its product line in 1987 and Mitsubishi in 1989.

An auto industry perspective on how lending fees are handled, including comments from Lithia Motors chairman Sid DeBoer.

Erickson Air-Crane is getting much love from analysts these days.
It’s hard to ignore since the helicopter company with a large presence outside Central Point has seen its stock soar in recent weeks.

If you deal with Wells Fargo, you’ll appreciate this report featuring Warren Buffett.

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    Greg Stiles

    Covering the Southern Oregon business and economy since 2001. Read Full
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