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Evergreen International says it's not closing business

Evergreen International in McMinnville, which told state officials Nov. 7 that it would close its Oregon operations and lay off more than 130 people, is saying it would "move aggressively" to address a decline business, but is not closing.

The Yamhill Valley News-Register reported that the aviation company had told employees it will stop operating at the end of this month. Friday afternoon, Delford M. Smith, the company’s chief executive officer, issued a statement saying Evergreen’s business “has been adversely impacted over the past several years by decreased demand in military spending and weakness in global economic markets. Management has moved to aggressively address these challenges, including through the divestiture of businesses and assets and the significant reduction of secured debt. Evergreen is in discussions with its significant constituencies and is exploring available strategic alternatives with those constituencies. While Evergreen generally does not comment on market rumor or conjecture, rumors that a decision has been made to cease operations at this time are false. Evergreen remains committed to continuing to address the current business environment with its customers.”

EVERGREEN'S STATE LETTER

Click here to read Evergreen Aviation's letter to state officials on possible closure and layoffs.

Evergreen is one of Yamhill County's biggest employers with about 450 staff. The company moves commercial cargo and has supported some U.S. military operations. It also has a nonprofit arm that runs an aircraft museum and water park.

The News-Register reported that during the past year, the company has fallen into trouble — paying employees late; having the electricity cut off; and having bond rating companies issue warnings about its finances. The company also faces legal challenges. An air cargo company out of the United Arab Emirates is suing Evergreen for more than $5 million.

The Oregon Department of Justice is also investigating money transfers between the company's nonprofit and commercial arms.

Evergreen sold its helicopter business to Erickson Air-Crane in March for about $276 million.

Calls to the company were not immediately returned.

Tribune reporter Kevin L. Harden contributed to this news report.