Friday, August 7, 2020
Aug. 7, 2020

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Daimler Trucks extends Portland factory shutdown again as coronavirus outbreak persists

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PORTLAND — Daimler Trucks North America has extended the shutdown of its Swan Island factory for another week, until April 20.

The company gave no explanation for the extension. The plant closed March 25 and was originally scheduled to reopen on April 6. At the time, Daimler blamed parts shortages from other facilities. Daimler later extended the shutdown on April 13.

Monday’s announcement says simply that the plant won’t reopen until April 20 but warns employees that “circumstances may change.” The company hasn’t said how many employees are furloughed during the shutdown or what kinds of pay and benefits they are receiving; in recent years, Daimler has employed about 2,600 in Portland in jobs ranging from manufacturing to engineering to administration.

The coronavirus outbreak has been relatively mild in Oregon compared to other parts of the country. The state has reported just over 1,000 cases and 27 deaths. Still, public health experts warn that without strict measures to contain the virus the toll could increase rapidly.

Daimler may be the only large Oregon manufacturer to shut down for an extended period during the outbreak. Intel, Precision Castparts, Lam Research and others have maintained operations. Boeing extended the closure of its Washington factories Sunday but has continued operating its Gresham site.

Gov. Kate Brown’s ” stay home ” announcement last month specifically exempted construction and manufacturing, provided those industries can maintain safe distances among employees and take other measures to restrict the spread of the coronavirus. The governor allowed many other industries to continue operating, too, with the same mandate for worker safety.

Well over 1,000 workers have complained to state regulators, though, that some businesses’ safety measures are inadequate. Oregon began surprise inspections of workplaces last week.

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