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Intel's plan to cut 784 jobs rattles Washington County families

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP FILE PHOTO - Intel Corp. said Monday that it would lay off 784 people from six Washington County campuses.Intel’s plan to lay off 784 Washington County employees resonated with Cornelius mayor and former Intel employee Jeffrey C. Dalin, whose wife Janel still works there making computer chips as a processing engineer.

Though they haven’t yet received any life-changing news, “You feel for the families that lose that income,” Dalin said Tuesday. “I went through it last year.”

After 21 years as a senior industrial engineer, Dalin was one of 1,100 Intel employees laid off nationwide in 2015.

“It hurts when you’re with somebody that long — when you’ve got plans to retire,” he said. “Intel is this area’s mill ... and I don’t know if the economy is healthy enough to absorb 784 people of that caliber.”

Site consolidations

Intel told Oregon’s Office of Community Colleges and Workforce Development on Monday that the layoffs would begin May 31. Employees would be cut from two Aloha campuses and four in Hillsboro. The employees were told about the layoffs Monday and Tuesday.

Specific information about the jobs to be cut was not disclosed in the Intel letter to the state. Companies are required by state law to notify state officials before any mass layoffs.

Intel officials have already begun the process of site consolidations, part of a massive restructuring of the company announced last week. The company plans to close its DuPont, Wash., plant. DuPont Mayor Michael Courts confirmed the information Monday afternoon.

“Intel has informed us (when asked directly) that the DuPont facility will close. It will affect around 350 employees,” he wrote. “We do not have a specific timeline for the closure or layoffs.”

The DuPont Development Center focuses on “engineering research and product development, with an emphasis on powerful and efficient technology platforms for business,” according to Intel’s website.

DuPont, a city of about 9,300 is located between Olympia and Tacoma and directly west of Joint Base Lewis McChord. Intel has one other site in Washington, RidgePointe in Bellevue, east of Seattle. Intel employs about 1,000 people in Washington.

Layoffs apparently started Monday morning, with posts comparing severance packages lighting up www.layoffs.com, a forum that allows anonymous posting.

Previous layoffs

Intel Corp. announced April 19 that it expects to cut 12,000 jobs worldwide this year and into 2017 as part of a major restructuring initiative to accelerate its evolution from a PC company to one that powers the cloud and billions of smart, connected computing devices.

Intel is Oregon’s largest private employer, with nearly 19,500 employees on five Washington County campuses. According to the April 19 announcement, Intel will intensify its focus in high-growth areas — like the Internet of Things — where it is positioned for growth, while making the company more efficient and profitable.

The company expects to save about $1.4 billion by mid-2017 through the restructuring, after a one-time charge of $1.2 billion in the second quarter. The company said about 11 percent of its employees would be affected, through a combination of voluntary and involuntary departures.

Major layoffs are not a new phenomenon to Intel. The company went through a series of big cutbacks in 1998, when the company reduced its workforce by 3,000 employees, or about 5 percent of its workforce at the time. Company officials cited a slowdown in sales and drop in computer and processor prices as the need for layoffs at that time.

In 2006-07, the company made another round of cutbacks during what then-Then-Chief Executive Officer Paul Otellini categorized as a “restructure, repurpose, and resize.” Those cuts affected 10,500 employees, or about 10 percent of its workforce.

Economic ripples

CORNELIUS MAYOR JEFFREY C. DALINIntel’s economic ripple, Dalin said, would affect restaurants, housing and contractor jobs throughout the metro area. And with many of those layoffs coming to single-wage families, “I think it’s going to be felt: 784 — that’s not an inconsequential number,” he said.

Several of Dalin’s friends and former co-workers — men and women who’d put in upwards of 20 years, across multiple positions — were walked off their respective campuses yesterday, he said.

Last year, Intel explained its firing algorithm, Dalin said. “This year, nothing yet.”

There’s been no indication of a rhyme or reason, no position consistency or tenure theme for the layoffs, he added. “Your biggest concern is for the families.”

Reporter Kevin Harden contributed to this story.