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Who’s laying off, exiting Oregon?

June 18, 2014

osba-logoWho’s Laying Off & Moving?
By Oregon Small Business Association

Vestas’ 200 Oregon jobs soon gone with the wind

As of early May, the Danish wind turbine maker Vestas Wind Systems, is increasingly pointing all turbines towards Colorado. All indications by Chris Brown, Vestas’ North American President, point towards “site simplification” in mile-high territory. In August of 2010, Vestas employed about 400 sales and service people in Oregon, with a promise of adding 100 more employees over five years. This was on the heels of an $8.1 million, 15-year interest-free loan from Portland for its $66 million Pearl District headquarters. Since then, repeated years of unprofitable quarters and cost-cutting measures have reduced Vestas Portland to about 200 people, and those jobs appear soon to be gone with the wind.

Oregon loses more corporate HQ’s as Portland-born companies move to Vancouver.
Although these jobs are technically staying in Portland-metropolitan area, there’s no way around admitting that Oregon is losing some good-sized corporations and well over 1,000 jobs that will no longer call Oregon home.

Evergreen Plastic Containers, a Portland bottle-manufacturer, will soon pack up its 30 employees and relocate to Clark County, where husband-and-wife owners, Helen Nguwen and Vincent Do, were able to purchase a 5.2 acre industrial site that is fee-ready, tax-ready and shovel-ready for development. The move should be underway by late 2014 with the construction of the 50,000-square-foot building currently underway.

As tax-perks expire and space gets tight, Banfield Pet Hospital (owned by Mars Inc.), plans to move its 600-employee headquarters from north Portland to suburban Vancouver, where current CEO and one-third of its employees already live. By late 2015, the Portland born company will leave behind a 5-acre campus at NE 80th and Tillamook Streets for a 20-acre campus in East Vancouver. Adding to the appeal are Clark County’s high-ranking school systems, and relatively affordable housing.

Integra Telecom’s 500-plus employees were once scattered between buildings and offices in Portland’s Lloyd District. Ahead of schedule, they just completed their move in early May to the newly-renovated former campus of Hewlett-Packard Co. in east Vancouver.

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Bob Clark June 18, 2014

California charges high taxes but at least the state builds plenty of highways and allows industrial and commercial campuses in their own settings to flourish; whereas Portland hasn’t built a new highway in decades despite substantial population growth (now congesting the road ways).

Metro needs to be abolished altogether and communities allowed to compete for development. This and keeping tax rates stable would help turn Oregon’s continually mediocre economy around.

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