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Food firm signs lease in Forest Grove


U.K. company joins others in mini-boom

After several recession-cursed years of departing companies and sluggish job numbers, Forest Grove’s commercial development is picking up, which means job numbers are, too.

The biggest catch so far is Chaucer Foods, a United Kingdom-based company with plants in France and China. Forest Grove would be its first U.S. manufacturing site, although it has a customer-service center in Michigan.

The food-processing company makes freeze-dried fruits, vegetables, cheese and yogurt and is estimated to bring 71 new jobs to Forest Grove in its first year, with a total of 150 by the end of its second year, said Jeff King, the city’s economic development manager.

Although Chaucer has not quite finished its investigation into the details of settling here, its officials have signed a lease for the building at 2238 Yew St., King said.

“It looks pretty certain,” he said, noting that the company would immediately need to start renovating the building — formerly occupied by Davis Tool — and probably wouldn’t open until sometime next year.

Chaucer would be the second food processor to choose a Forest Grove location this year. Summit Foods, which already has plants in North Plains and Cornelius, is expanding into the space previously occupied by Cedar Canyon Bottled Water at 1840 B Street.

Company officials have signed a lease-to-purchase agreement on the 31,000-sq.ft. building and are currently renovating the space. They expect to be operating by Jan. 1, King said, bringing five to seven new jobs to the city.

Among the other expansions, relocations and startups:

n Old Trapper Smoked Products, 4071 24th Ave.: Located in Forest Grove since 1984, the jerky maker has expanded a couple different times over the past few years. New jobs: at least 35

n Prime Time Sports Bar and Restaurant, 4450 Pacific Ave.: Reopened at a new site with bigger space Sept. 8, nearly two years after a fire destroyed the original building. New jobs: 19

n Clearwater Pump Company, 2133 Douglas St.: The well, pump and sprinkler company opens in October. New jobs: 4

n HippocreaTeas, 2018 Hawthorne St.: The health and wellness tea shop opened last month in a former antique shop. New jobs: 3

n Waltz Brewing Co, 1900 A St.: The city’s only microbrewery (following the departure of Off the Rail), expects to open by December. New jobs: 3

n O’Reilly Auto Parts, 3705 Pacific Ave.: The auto parts store relocated and expanded, opening last month. New jobs: 1

n Pascor, 2615 23rd Ave.: The company, which makes and assembles parts for energy grids, employs 75 to 80 people. It completed a 26,000 sq.ft. expansion in June. Projected new jobs: 7

Upcoming projects include plans by NAPA (National Automotive Parts Association), now located at 2214 Pacific Ave., to build a new, bigger facility in Forest Grove. Also eyeing the city are a certified green lumber/plywood manufacturing plant and a health and fitness club to replace Forest Grove Fitness.

And next door in Cornelius, the expanded Wilco is expected to add 18 to 20 new jobs when it opens in January.