This week in manufacturing

Joan McGuire

A roundup of deals, expansions and outright failures in the manufacturing sector.

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This week we saw handshakes for food and transportation manufacturers, and hand wringing for cross-laminated timber. Here’s what you need to know:

Cracks, literal and figurative, in CLT plans

Oregon lost some of its cross-laminated luster this week. An Oregonian investigation revealed that Oregon State University officials knew the risks in hiring D.R. Johnson, a novice CLT contractor — but hired them anyway. D.R. Johnson has emerged as the face of the industry in Oregon, but lacks the experience of CLT manufacturers outside the state.  

In other CLT news:  After crunching the numbers, developers pulled the plug for Framework, Portland’s fun but expensive all-wood skyscraper project.

Tea Time

Yogi Tea opened a new 189,000 square-foot manufacturing center in Eugene. With DNA analysis and ingredient identity confirmation testing, the company will crank out the highest tech tea you’ll ever drink. 

New high for cannabis chocolatier

C21 Investments, a Canadian company, acquired Portland-based Gron Chocolates in a deal that could be worth $11 million. CEO Christine Smith hinted at similar deals in the works for other Oregon cannabis companies.

A dose of self-confidence

Chris Holzshu, executive vice president at Lithia Motors, bought $102,787 of his company’s stock. Executives have the inside track on the company’s prospects, so an inside buy could suggest others might want to follow suit.

Money Train

Greenbrier Companies bought a 68% stake in Turkish railcar manufacturer Rayvag. Enthusiasm for rail is lukewarm in the United States, but seems to be on fire in Turkey, with the government poised to invest the equivalent of $23.5 billion USD toward rail infrastructure by 2023.

New tools for the Oregon manufacturing toolbox  

The Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center in Scappoose adds to its growth streak. The project raked in a $3 million federal grant and a new company, German toolmaker HAIMER.

Work in progress

A report on Oregon economic activity shows that while many things are going well for manufacturers, workforce isn’t one of them. The number of manufacturing hours worked slipped, and the report reinforces anecdotal reports showing companies are having a harder time finding new hires.

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