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Week in Review

Gas prices skyrocketed after Hurricane Katrina disrupted fuel supplies in the Gulf Coast region. Prices surged over $3 a gallon in many areas of the country and there were long lines at the pumps and gas rationing in a number of cities. Prices in the Pacific Northwest rose more slowly than in other regions, although it’s expected that heavy demand elsewhere in the country will affect prices here, too. Some gas-station owners said the market is as unpredictable as they have ever seen it.


Metropolitan Mortgage & Securities Co. sold its idyllic Hawaiian properties and netted $16.7 million, about $4 million more than the company had estimated. Money from most of the property sales has been deposited and will be part of the initial distribution to creditors once a bankruptcy plan for Metropolitan is approved.

“ The Spokane Public Facilities District will receive an additional $9.1 million to use for the Convention Center expansion following a complex financial transaction. The PFD sold to Lehman Brothers the option to refinance the $77 million worth of revenue bonds sold to pay for the Convention Center project. The district plans to use the money to pay off $3 million in cost overruns, spend more on renovations to the existing Convention Center and to build food and beverage facilities in the new exhibit hall.

“ This fall, Spokane-based Itronix Corp. hopes to snag a share of the cool-computer action when it unveils a rugged laptop modeled after the Hummer sport utility vehicle. Priced at $2,990, the laptops — which come in swaggering hues of red, yellow and pewter and bear the Hummer logo — are aimed at the small-business and consumer market.


Canadian officials were seething over a preliminary World Trade Organization ruling that found the United States had properly complied with international law by imposing billions of dollars in duties against Canadian lumber companies. The ruling has fueled further talk of an outright trade war between the world’s largest trading partners.


One expert on rebuilding after disasters estimated it will take five years before the New Orleans region attains a semblance of normalcy, following what was being called one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history. It could take even longer to attract the all-important tourist business back to the city, a major convention destination.


Consumers persevered at stores and malls in August, shopping despite soaring gas prices and giving many of the nation’s biggest retailers surprisingly solid sales.


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