Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Gunderson to appeal Portland’s River Plan

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Gunderson LLC, a unit of The Greenbrier Cos., said Monday it will appeal a plan adopted by Portland, Ore., to protect the Willamette River, claiming the plan inflicts economic hardship on businesses and residents.

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“Gunderson remains aligned with the overall objectives of the Plan to promote a clean river and a healthy waterfront economy; however, the Company believes the Plan fails to strike appropriate balance and is punitive to jobs-producing businesses on the waterfront and in the Northwest Industrial Sanctuary,” the company said in a statement.

“Specifically, the Company contends that in passing the Plan, Portland acted inconsistently with Oregon’s Land Use Planning goals, failed to meet the Plan’s objectives, and created an incomplete Plan. The City sent out notice on April 21, 2010 that the ordinance had been adopted, triggering a 21-day deadline for any appeals to be filed.”

Greenbrier Cos. President and CEO William A. Furman, in a statement, said, “A clean river and healthy economy are not mutually exclusive goals. Everybody has spent considerable time and resources to make the River Plan work. However, there are 40,000 family wage jobs at stake in the 11 miles of the already highly regulated North Reach of the Willamette River. Unfortunately, little progress has been made on resolving the details that are the focus of our concerns.

“The ordinance puts jobs at risk and has other serious flaws,” Furman continued. “We are especially concerned about the additional and redundant layer of regulation imposed by the City of Portland on industry and jobs already hit hard by the economic downturn and struggling to compete globally. We have no choice but to seek remedy at the Oregon State Land Use Board of Appeals.”

Gunderson, located on a deepwater facility on the Willamette River, currently employs 670 personnel, down from peak employment of about 1,200, the company said.