Dry Rot Causing Structural Issues Across the Northwest
Jun29

Dry Rot Causing Structural Issues Across the Northwest

Dry rot is a fungal timber decay that occurs in poorly ventilated conditions, resulting in cracking and powdering of the wood. This issue happens all over the place but has been a major concern across the Northwest in recent months. In fact, dry rot is actually the number one cause of damage to wooden structures in Portland, Oregon. The life-cycle of wooden structure decay from dry rot can be broken down into four main stages: beginning as a microscopic spore resembling fine orange dust particles, followed by hyphae white strands that eventually grow into larger mass known as mycelium, and lastly progressing to a fruiting body which pumps new spores out into the surrounding air, causing major structural damage. According to The Daily Astorian, bridges across Oregon have been decaying as of late thanks to age and structural deficiencies like wood rot. The Oregon Department of Transportation rated crossings of U.S. Highway 26 (over Little Humbug Creek), U.S. Highway 101 (over Ecola Creek), and Oregon Highway 104 (over the Skipanon River) as structurally deficient in the 2017 report on bridge conditions. In order to address these bridge decency issues, more and more construction workers and welders will need to be contracted to repair and rebuild these bridges — and not just in Oregon, but across the entire United States. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers is projected to reach 412,300 in 2024. “In the ’30s and ’40s and ’50s, as kind of a cost-cutting measure, there were a lot of timber bridges built,” said Bruce Johnson, Oregon’s bridge engineer. “Because of the master climate in Region 2 (spanning the Oregon Coast from Astoria to Florence), that timber rots pretty quick.” State officials estimate that more than 90% of timber bridges have exceeded their designed lifespan (which is about 50 years). Of the 298 distressed bridges across the region, 56 of them have structural timber elements. “I think we’ve done a pretty nice job around here of preserving and maintaining the historic structures,” added Daniel McFadden, bridge maintenance coordinator whose crews maintain roughly 400 regional spans. Additionally, dry rot has caused some major residential issues across the Northwest, as well. According to KATU, a jury recently sided with a tenant in a $20 million lawsuit against a landlord over fall and safety hazards involving structural defects. A Multnomah County jury ruled in favor of a Robert Trebelhorn, a Portland man who argued that his former landlord had failed to make necessary building improvements to the aging apartment complex where he lived. Trebelhorn fell waist-deep into a rotting, second-story walkway and subsequently...

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U.S. Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Sales Tax for Online Purchases
Jun29

U.S. Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Sales Tax for Online Purchases

Thanks to the Supreme Court of the United States, online shoppers will soon collectively pay between $13 billion and $20 billion more a year than they already were. Why? A SCOTUS decision last week will allow states to start collecting sales taxes from most internet purchases for the first time. In 2016, nearly 22% of small business owners didn’t know their effective tax rate, according to a CNBC Small Business Survey. Business owners are encouraged to keep their in-store and online purchase revenue separate so they know which are applicated for sales tax, and this could cause some major confusion. The National Retail Federation is calling this ruling a “major victory” for retailers. “Retailers have been waiting for this day for more than two decades,” said NRF’s president and CEO, Matthew Shay. “The retail industry is changing, and the Supreme Court has acted correctly in recognizing that it’s time for outdated sales tax policies to change as well. This ruling clears the way for a fair and level playing field where all retailers compete under the same sales tax rules whether they sell merchandise online, in-store or both.” The Supreme Court’s decision was five to four. The case was South Dakota v. Wayfair. The state of South Dakota was suing Wayfair, an e-commerce retailer that doesn’t collect state taxes. Prior to the ruling, businesses were required to collect state sales taxes only from buyers who lived in the state where the business had a physical presence. That’s not the case anymore. While many people are probably seeing this change as a negative thing, there is a silver lining. With the extra revenue in the states’ hands, it could allow states and cities to spend more money on services, fix roads, improve schools, or even lower other taxes. Brian Kirkell, a principal at tax audit and consulting firm RSM, says, “Once we get past the short-term hurt to consumer spending power, we’re likely to see those amounts returned to us indirectly as states spend surpluses either through reduced taxes, infrastructure spending or the expansion of business incentive...

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Have You Ever Wanted to Change Your Smile? Here’s How
Jun29

Have You Ever Wanted to Change Your Smile? Here’s How

Have you ever wished your smile was a little nicer? While everyone has a naturally beautiful smile, there are some easy ways to improve your smile naturally. This can help you look more photogenic in candid photos and give a great first impression. Do the occasional smile exercise The muscles in your face can be controlled to form a more natural smile. After all, a smile is just the movement of face muscles into a different position. Through muscle memory, you can use this exercise to improve the control you have over your smile. There are a few steps to the smile exercise: first, stretch your lips laterally and keep your lips together for 10 seconds. Then, slowly begin to part your lips, holding each stage for increments of 10 seconds each. You should start lips closed, then move to partial teeth, half teeth, then all of your teeth. Then, run the whole thing in reverse. Reduce smile lines Reduce the lines around the corners of your mouth with one simple exercise once a day. Simply purse your lips and suck in your cheeks — you should look a little like a fish. While you’re puckering, try to smile without breaking your pucker. This will help reduce the look of lines, but only do it once a day to prevent straining your facial muscles. Smile with your eyes If your eyes don’t scrunch when you smile, this makes your smile look insincere. Try to actively smile with your eyes when you do smile to give you a genuinely jovial appearance. Whiten your teeth naturally A white smile is seen as an attractive smile. Practically 40 million Americans use products to whiten their teeth to achieve this desired effect. For a natural method, try eating more fruits and vegetables. You can also consider switching to a natural charcoal-based toothpaste and brush your teeth after each meal. Smiling is an activity for everyone, but it can be hard to improve your smile. Try these tips to create a naturally beautiful...

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