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Blount to lay off 200, merge Milwaukie facilities

Blount International, Inc., plans to lay off nearly 200 non-unionized manufacturing workers as part its closure of chain-saw production at its Naef Road facility in Milwaukie; it will consolidate much of those operations into its world-headquarters campus at 4909 S.E. International Way, Milwaukie.

After a general announcement, Blount provided WARN Act notice letters on Friday so that dislocated employees can find opportunities at Clackamas Community College and other local workforce-development centers.

As a result of this consolidation, Blount will permanently discharge or transfer 132 employees, the vast majority at 3901 S.E Naef Road, where it purchased Carlton Products’ brand of saw chains in 2008. Blount will fire 66 employees based at International Way, but the number of employees at that facility will increase overall as part of the transfer expected to take place between Oct. 8 and 22.

With the two facilities only three miles apart, Blount spokesman David Dugan said it made sense to consolidate.

“The majority of Carlton Brand sales are international, so we’re also operating closer to where our customers are in Brazil, China and Canada,” Dugan said.

Saying each company has its own strategy, Dugan declined to comment as to whether Blount’s decision was part of a trend to send U.S. manufacturing overseas. In 2011, Oregon City’s Blue Heron Paper Co. closed its operations to hundreds of employees, citing Chinese competition.

“It is a difficult decision anytime reductions are necessary, however we have provided notice to these employees, and we will be working with them in the period to come to arrange for benefits and other opportunities,” he said.

After the layoffs, about 1,200 employees will remain at Blount’s Milwaukie headquarters, and Dugan noted the company has more than 4,000 employees internationally.




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