What's News In Forest Grove?

Computer Operated Car

September 9, 2013

CadillacSafetyTechnologies07.jpgA computer-operated car has taken a Pennsylvania congressman for a ride.

Representative Bill Shuster made a 33-mile trip from Cranberry Township to Pittsburgh International Airport at about 11 a.m. Wednesday in a self-driven car designed by Carnegie Mellon University.  Shuster is the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and he was accompanied by Barry Schoch, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

The Cadillac SRX was driven along local roads and highways by a computer that uses inputs from radars, laser rangefinders, and infrared cameras. The car reached speeds of 65 mph, and a Carnegie Mellon engineer was in the driver’s seat as a safety precaution. Check out the video of the experience here!  It’s a little long, but pretty amazing.

So what does this mean in the future for insurance rates?  We all know that rates for teens and the elderly are higher.  Does this mean rates will flatten out and come way down as a result? It is going to be interesting to see how this technology evolves and how it affects your insurance costs.  I’m guessing it means good things.

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Excellent Small Business Advice

August 13, 2013

Jim BlasingameJim Blasingame, host of the nationally syndicated radio program, The Small Business Advocate® Show, wrote a guest column in Forbes this morning.  Excellent advice if you own a small business.  Call us so we can run you through the ins and outs of this coverage!

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin

July 31, 2013

I smell a rat.  Did SAIF lose a big account to the trust?  Something just doesn’t seem right with all of this and I’m sure (at the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist) there is more to the story.  The trust has saved Oregon employers lots of premium dollars and we need more competition in Oregon to keep driving down costs. 


Oregon’s largest workers compensation self-insurance trust, with about 200 employer members, must increase its security deposit by Aug. 7 or face decertification, potentially leaving its members (over 1,000) liable for existing claims.

Oregon’s Department of Consumer and Business Services warned in a letter mailed Friday to members and former members of the Oregon Employers Trust Inc. that the trust’s state-required security deposit must increase from $3.2 million to $3.95 million by Aug. 7 or the employers will have to purchase workers comp insurance effective Aug. 8.

So far the trust has not been able to meet the requirement, according to the state which has begun preliminary measures to decertify. The trust is administered by Empire Pacific Risk Management Inc.  Members of such trusts are “jointly and severally liable” for the group’s liabilities, meaning if OET stops operating then individual members and former members are liable for all claims not covered by the trust’s security deposit.

The trust encountered financial trouble because assessments or premiums paid by members are not adequate to cover future claims “given the significant increase in the group’s membership and potential risk,” according to state documents.  In 2012, Oregon notified the trust that it had to increase its security deposit from $791,000 to the current $3.2 million due to membership growth and increased potential for claims.  The trust’s 200 employer members account for nearly $829 million in annual payroll and range from small nonprofit organizations to large businesses, including agriculture, construction and manufacturing companies, according to the state.  (businessinsurance.com).


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Referral Program Update

July 17, 2013

Sparky NegotiatorWe recently updated our referral program and MADE IT EVEN BETTER!

You all know that we give away $10 Fred Meyer gift cards for a referral, but now we are matching that with a $10 donation to a local charity.  If you want all of the details on our referral program, including the $500 Visa gift card, click here.

From July 1st to September 30th our charity will be the Bonnie L. Hays Animal Shelter in Hillsboro.  Our office had considered several other charities, but Sparky is a tough negotiator, and we decided we liked our office furniture the way it is…

In all seriousness, though, Bonnie Hays is a great organization and we are pleased to support it.  Please keep the referrals rolling!  We have given away over $1,000 already this year!

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Play “Find the Insurance Agent” and Get a Starbucks Card

July 10, 2013

Brian OfficeA couple of weekends ago I went to Fete de la Musique, an event hosted by the Portland French Alliance.  There were three stages, lots of music, crepes (for you Ricky Bobby fans out there those are really thin pancakes and apparently pretty good–heheh), and beer and wine.  I brought my wife, Beth and my daughter Lauren.  It was a lot of fun.

OK.  So here’s the deal.  Click on this link and scan through the photos.  How many photos am I– Brian — in?  The first three people to post the right answer will receive a $5 Starbucks gift card.  But here’s the catch.  In addition to guessing the correct number of photos, you ALSO have to say something different about one of the photos.  Something like “Look at that chrome dome between the two gorgeous ladies in photo 17! ”  That way I’ll know you actually looked and didn’t just copy the answer!!!  Same goes for the captions.  Have fun!


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Are You Protected if You Borrow a Neighbor’s Lawnmower?

July 8, 2013

Riding LawnmowerHere’s a question for you.

Your riding mower conks out when you’re almost done mowing the yard, so your neighbor loans you their mower to finish the job. You have an accident with the mower, injuring a neighborhood child. Does your ISO (Insurance Services Office- the industry standard for policy language) Homeowners 3 policy cover the potential liability? What if you loan your neighbor your mower, he injures someone, and you’re sued as the vehicle owner? Any coverage under your HO policy? Or what if you join some fellow members of the congregation to mow your church’s lawn. You have an accident and are sued. Any homeowner coverage?

The answer to this series of questions depends on which ISO homeowner edition date applies to your policy. ISO’s most recent homeowner edition dates are 1991, 2000, and 2011 and the coverage for the use of riding lawn mowers is different in each policy. Whether you have coverage for the use of a riding mower depends on which edition date applies AND on how the mower is being used at the time of the occurrence. If it’s not an ISO homeowner policy, then all bets are off and you’ll have to read the policy carefully.

About as clear as mud, right?  So aren’t you glad you have an agent at Pacific Insurance Partners you can talk to?!

Please call us to discuss this question and any others you might have.  It’s why we are here and we love to help!


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British Bar Owner Sued for Seeking Employee with Knowledge of British Culture

June 25, 2013

longbowI read an article in the insurance press yesterday that really irritated me.  Here’s the gist.

A British bar in New York was served a $2,500 fine after advertising a position that sought someone with knowledge of British culture.  Bar owners Michael Colbert, originally from Wales, and wife, Jennifer, were fined by the New York City Commission on Human Rights for discrimination violations after the bar last year posted on ad looking for a bartender with specific skills.

“…Energetic and enthusiastic men and women with an appreciation of craft beer,  good food, whisky and real football (aka soccer),”  the Craigslist ad read in part, according to the New York Times. “Being British definitely works in your favor.”

As a result of this ad, The Long Bow Pub & Pantry in Brooklyn, self-proclaimed as New York’s only Welsh bar, paid the fine last week after facing more than $7,500 in fines plus legal costs if it were to take the case to trial,  according to a statement on the bar’s website.

In addition to the fine paid for by the Long Bow, the State of NY required the bar owners to pay for and attend anti-discrimination training classes.

“We were left with no choice yesterday but to accept the original $2,500 offer,” said the statement.  “Free speech is not so free after all it seems.”

“While the Long Bow has enjoyed an enormous amount of free advertising over the past couple of months, it is our hope they … understand that discrimination in this city is illegal and at the end of the day violators will pay,” New York City Human Rights Commissioner Patricia Gatling told the BBC.

OK.  How ridiculous is this?  To me, a British pub seeking an employee with knowledge of British culture is no different than requiring typing skills for a data entry position.  Right?  What am I missing here?  Here is a link to the Long Bow’s blog statement and here is a link to a NYT article.   If I lived in NY I would love to go in for a beer.  Fish & Chips look pretty good, too!

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin

Hillsboro Hops

June 18, 2013

Hillsboro HopsA friend recently sent me a link to a CSNNW video highlighting the new Hillsboro Hops stadium.

I have to admit,  I have been VERY skeptical about this stadium because I had heard that the entire infield was turf– no dirt on the base paths at all– just the pitcher’s mound.  So I clicked on the link and listened to Dwight Jaynes rave about how great it was and my left eyebrow was arched so high it almost got stuck… but when he took us inside?  Not so bad, actually.  Yes, it is turf  “dirt,” but the stadium is open air, which makes a difference.

I don’t know about you, but I really don’t like watching a sporting event (in person or on TV) when it is in a dome.  I went to the King Dome once, back in the early 90’s, and never went back.  Way too sterile after 20 years spent watching baseball played at Fenway Park.  And I cringe a little when the Red Sox play the Tampa Bay Rays in Florida or the Pats are playing in New Orleans or Minnesota.   Is it the lighting?  Maybe a little bit.  After all, who likes florescent lights?  For me, though, I think I like the elements.  I like how the wind can blow a fly ball around or how the sun can get in an outfielders eyes.  I like watching planes fly overhead, and maybe a little sun on my face. And snow during a football game?  Awesome!

Anyhow, you can watch the video here.  Let me know what you think– and make sure you friend us on our Facebook page.  I’m going to be giving away some Hops tickets soon!

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Forest Grove High School Graduation

June 13, 2013

FGHS Grads 2013Congratulations to the Class of 2013.  I know a lot of you, and wish you all the best!

I was on the District website this morning and noticed a link to John Hayes’ commencement address so I clicked on it and read it.  At the point he spoke you were all getting pretty antsy to be done, so you probably didn’t listen very closely (congrats if you did– I don’t even remember who gave my high school commencement address) to what he had to say.  But I would encourage you to read it here.  His advice is SOLID, and as someone who has suffered lots of bruises, and failed innumerable times, all I can add is this:  The bruises are worth it.  It may take some time for you to see results or understand why, but trust the old guy here.  John Hayes is right.  As a good friend of mine, Chuck Aldrink, likes to say, “Don’t Retreat!”

Anyhow, that’s enough lecturing.  I wish you all the best of luck with whatever it is you are choosing to pursue! And if you are ever looking for some old guy advice, or want to talk about bruises, my door is always open.

(Photo Courtesy of Forest Grove  School District)




Air Tower Instruction Funnies

June 6, 2013

CockpitOK.  I don’t normally post stuff like this on my blog,  but as I get more involved in aviation insurance and get to know some of these characters, I can’t help myself.  These are great!  Thanks to my father-in-law, Graham, for sending them to me.






Tower: Delta 351, you have traffic at 10 o’clock, 6 miles!”

Delta 351: “Give us another hint! We have digital watches!”


Tower: “TWA 2341, for noise abatement turn right 45 Degrees.”

TWA 2341: “Center, we are at 35,000 feet. How much noise can we make up here?”

Tower: “Sir, have you ever heard the noise a 747 makes when it hits a 727?”

O’Hare Approach Control to a 747:“United 329 heavy, your traffic is a Fokker, one o’clock, three miles, Eastbound.”
United 329: Approach, I’ve always wanted to say this…I’ve got the little Fokker in sight.”


A DC-10 had come in a little hot and thus had an exceedingly long roll out after touching down.

San Jose Tower Noted:  American 751, make a hard right turn at the end of the runway,if you are able. If you are not able, take the Guadeloupe exit off Highway 101, make a right at the lights and return to the airport.”

Tower: Eastern 702, cleared for takeoff, contact Departure on frequency 124.7″

Eastern 702: “Tower, Eastern 702 switching to Departure. By the way, after we lifted off we saw some kind of dead animal on the far end of the runway.”
Tower: Continental 635, cleared for takeoff behind Eastern 702, contact Departure onfrequency 124.7. Did you copy that report from Eastern 702?”
Continental 635: “Continental 635, cleared for takeoff, roger; and yes, we copied Eastern…

We’ve already notified our caterers.”

One day the pilot of a Cherokee 180 was told by the tower to hold short of the active runway while a DC-8 landed. The DC-8 landed, rolled out, turned around, and taxied back past the Cherokee. Some quick-witted comedian in the DC-8 crew got on the radio and said:  What a cute little plane. Did you make it all by yourself?”

The Cherokee pilot, not about to let the insult go by, came back with a real zinger:  “I made it out of DC-8 parts.

Another landing like yours and I’ll have enough parts for another one.”


The German air controllers at Frankfurt Airport are renowned as a short-tempered lot. They not only expect one to know one’s gate parking location, but how to get there without any assistance from them.   So it was with some amusement that we (a Pan Am 747) listened to the following exchange between Frankfurt ground control and a British Airways 747, call sign Speedbird 206.

Speedbird 206: ” Frankfurt , Speedbird 206! Clear of active runway.”
Ground: “Speedbird 206. Taxi to gate Alpha One-Seven.”

The BA 747 pulled onto the main taxiway and slowed to a stop.

Ground: “Speedbird, do you not know where you are going?”

Speedbird 206: Stand by, Ground, I’m looking up our gate location now.”
Ground (with quite arrogant impatience):“Speedbird 206, have you not been to Frankfurt before?”

Speedbird 206: (coolly): “Yes, twice in 1944, but it was dark, — And I didn’t land.”


While taxiing at London ‘s Airport, the crew of a US Air flight departing for Ft. Lauderdale made a wrong turn and came nose to nose with a United 727.  An irate female ground controller lashed out at the US Air crew, screaming: 

“US Air 2771, where the hell are you going? I told you to turn right onto Charlie taxiway! You turned right on Delta! Stop right there. I know it’s difficult for you to tell the difference between C and D, but get it right!”

Continuing her rage to the embarrassed crew, she was now shouting hysterically: 

“God! Now you’ve screwed everything up! It’ll take forever to sort this out!  You stay right there and don’t move till I tell you to! You can expect progressive taxi instructions in about half an hour, and I want you to go exactly where I tell you, when I tell you, and how I tell you! You got that, US Air 2771?”

“Yes, ma’am,” the humbled crew responded.

Naturally, the ground control communications frequency fell terribly silent after the verbal bashing of US Air 2771. Nobody wanted to chance engaging the irate ground controller in her current state of mind. Tension in every cockpit out around Gatwick was definitely running high. Just then an unknown pilot broke the silence and keyed his microphone, asking:

“Wasn’t I married to you once?”

Filed under: Fun Stuff — admin
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