Daimler to add 350 jobs at Portland truck plant

Company also to hire 75 engineers to Portland jobs



Updated: October 20, 2011, 8:25 PM


PORTLAND (AP) — Daimler Trucks North America plans to hire 425 people in Portland, most at a factory headed for closure two years ago.

The company makes Western Star trucks in Portland and will put on a second shift for the first time since 2006.

That will mean 350 new jobs and put the Swan Island plant’s work force over 1,000 — welcome news in a state with unemployment numbers above the national average.

The Oregonian reported that Daimler is doing well with a new model featuring a midsize power train and relatively low price, producing more than 30 a day.

How to apply for jobs

Daimler Trucks North America LLC will accept online applications for the machinist, material handler and maintenance positions at the Portland Truck Manufacturing Plant beginning Friday. In addition, more than 150 positions in the fields of mechanical, electrical, electronic, and manufacturing engineering are currently open at DTNA in Portland and other company locations. Interested applicants for plant and engineering positions are asked to apply at dtna.jobs.

Martin Daum, Daimler Trucks North America president and chief executive, predicted Thursday the plant could ultimately turn out 60 a day.

Daimler also plans to hire 75 people at its nearby corporate headquarters.

In a statement, the company, formerly known as Freightliner, the 350 new jobs should be online by the end of 2012. The additional workers represent a nearly 50 percent increase in personnel at the plant and will include approximately 330 shop employees, and an additional 20 engineering and support positions to facilitate increased production.

The Swan Island facility exclusively produces heavy-duty Western Star brand Class 8 trucks for use in mining, logging, oil field and construction, as well as on-highway trucks and other specialized vehicles.

The increase in production capacity and hiring comes in response to a strong and steady rise in Western Star orders throughout 2011 and company expectations for continued growth in 2012. Western Star trucks are sold internationally with key sales in the U.S., Canada, Australia, South America, South Africa and Indonesia. The Portland plant currently employs approximately 700 shop employees and 50 engineers, managers and support staff, the company said.

“We are delighted to be able to make this announcement today here in Portland and proud of the achievements of our Western Star work force. The growing demand for our Western Star products is testimony to our brand focus on premium customer specifications combined with our leading powertrain technology,” said Martin Daum, president and CEO of Daimler Trucks North America LLC.

“Western Star is known as a serious work truck, and for good reason,” added Daum. “They’re built here in Portland with a heritage of the toughest vocational uses: logging, mining, specialized heavy hauling and military use. Despite global economic challenges, Western Star has been able to leverage its well-earned reputation and access to Daimler resources and technology to capture market share, leading to our announcement today.”

The current hiring activity is the first time since 2006 that DTNA has had open-market hiring for shop positions at this plant. Hiring of new employees will begin in November and the new production shift is slated to be at full capacity by February 2012. A second wave of hiring is planned for next summer to support the projected increase in demand.