After five years, the Traeger Redmond wood pellet manufacturing facility is ceasing operations at the end of the month.
“For these people, I’d just like to see them land somewhere where they have a family-wage job with good quality benefits so they don’t have to worry about it at the end of the day,” plant manager Rich Evans said.
Evans oversees nine employees, all of whom are now looking for jobs.
“I would like to get the word out to all of the manufacturing plants in the Central Oregon area,” said Evans, who is also being let go. “Especially the Redmond-Prineville area because that’s where most of them are from. There will be nine good employees looking for work.”
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Steve Curley, Director of Redmond Economic Development Inc (REDI), says the plant is closing due to efficiency and excess production. Traeger already has two other plants located in the valley, closer to the fir product the company is using to make wood pellets.
“It’s going to be much more efficient for them not to have to bring their raw materials over to Central Oregon and then back as a finished product,” Curley said.
Curley says REDI is working on softening the landing for Evans’ employees.
“We have been connecting them to other businesses and manufacturers in the area, that could utilize those talents of those folks,” Curley said.
Evans says his workers have a multitude of skill sets manufacturers could benefit from.
“Skillsets from loader operator, to machines operators, to forklift drivers, to shipping and receiving people- all types of skills for a manufacturing environment,” Evans said.
The Redmond plant will officially shut down on March 31.