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Thursday, November 1, 2007

We'll always have the condos

These jobs are goin', boys
And they ain't comin' back

Comments (36)

I thought Portland's anti-business climate is just a "perception problem"...maybe we need to spend more on the public relations companies that give contributions to the right people.

It's a forgone conclusion that Freighliner is leaving Portland. Almost from the instant Benz bought the company they began building new plants in North Carolina and Mexico. They have now shifted all truck manufacturing to those places. The only thing still built in Portland is trucks for the military I believe. If you look at the big picture Mercedes has located all it's North American operations in either non-union Southern States or in Mexico. Not to mention that N. Carolina is three hours closer to Mercedes Benz Headquarters. The final hint has been that high ranking Freightliner excutives have been buying second homes in N Carolina for the last couple of years.

It's sad but Freightliners leaving Portland has been in the works for quite a long time.

Greg C

You can bet yer happy ass that Portland especially, and Oregon in general are very anti-business.

The tax structure is horrible and excessive. The government gets in the way trying to be "helpful" and other stupid issues.

The south is winning those jobs because they get out of the way and don't tax the hell out of these companies. In addition they don't prop up the mob rule of unions, making them 10x more competitive when it comes to real blue collar labor employment.

The irony is, any economist could have told any politician this. It is too bad the state and city will have to learn the hard way. The leaders here need to wake up, FAST, and fix the problems that exist.

Otherwise we'll probably get to a point one day that Portland will even start losing the stars of the area, such as Nike or Columbia.

It IS possible.

I wonder how much of Lufthansa's business traffic between Portland and Frankfurt they represent.

Actually taxes on corporations in Oregon are quite low. It's taxes on highly paid individuals, like the executives, that hurts Oregon.

The other thing that helps Southern States is their willingness to offer large tax incentives to get manufacturing plants. Former Freightliner Presindent James Hebe was quoted in N Carolina newspapers a couple of years ago as threatening to leave Oregon unless Freightliner got something similar to the $300 million dollars in tax incentives that Mercedes Benz got from Alabama for locating a plant there. Needless to say Oregon officials refused.

The truth is it makes little business sense for Freightliner to remain here. Most of the US sales are back east. The home office is in Germany. So you have to ask yourself now much subsidy are we willing to pay to keep them.

Greg C

Top elected officials in the south actually call CEOs to encourage them to move their operations to their states. They wine and dine them. Not to say that Freightliner wouldn't have moved anyway, but the personal attention goes a long way. Our officials are too busy with other things to spend time selling companies on Portland. There's a lot of potential business that might move here if they would pick up the phone.

The powers that be know Portland is a wonderful place to live. Unfortunatly, some think that's all that's needed to attract businesses.

Well at least we have something that can’t be blamed on MAX. The slow bleeding of Freightliner, which has been going on for years and which will have probably them out of the town within five, is the fault of the condos. Actually it’s executives who can’t be arsed flying all this way to observe their empire, customers being elsewhere, and other towns willing to pay larger bribes to get jobs. I wonder if there is a blog in the destination town complaining about hand outs to manufacturers. Not a day goes by that people here don’t complain about the connection between politics and business. Now it’s the politicians fault for not “wining and dining” enough German execs. I guarantee they did, but we all know it won’t work in this case.

And yes, at least we do still have the condos and the source of tax income they supply. And please nobody bother with the “they don’t pay taxes”crap. Most of them do and all of them well. Not to mention the fact that many of them contain employees of rapidly growing companies such as Keen. Will that replace the vanishing manufacturing jobs? I don’t know, but would you rather be somewhere like Detroit with a vanishing manufacturing base and nothing in sight to offer hope?

I remain as always.

The post implies that these jobs were lost as a result of misplaced emphasis by political leaders here. But as other commentators have suggested, companies, like people, sometimes move for reasons beyond politicians' control. Sure seems to make more sense for this company to be located in the South. If anything, the city/county/state's willingness to accept this and not give away the store in order to keep them strikes me as a sign of good sense.

"the city/county/state's willingness to accept this and not give away the store in order to keep them strikes me as a sign of good sense."

Absolutely. Are we supposed to feel envious of the kind of society and economy that has been created in the South through their pro-corporation, anti-union policies?

If somebody had offered Freightliner half of what we handed to Homer Williams, they'd be expanding in Portland, not leaving.

Good observation, Jack. Also, Sherwood should realize that MAX in all its glory is part of the reason that Freightliner is moving. Moving goods and services in and out of Swan Island and through the metro area and beyond is being degraded by an unequal balance of attention and funds to Max (mass transit and all) versus our road systems. If Sherwood was familiar with the reasons that Boeing moved it headquarters and out sourced many of its projects outside of Seattle, he could see a connection. If he had read, researched, had some inside knowledge from Boeing executives, he might be singing a different tune.

Thanks, Lee. I knew somebody here would find a way of blaming MAX for this, and, it seems, Boeing leaving Seattle too. OK, for your next challenge, I have a pain in my foot (something to do with nerves). I know MAX caused this but I can’t prove it. Elucidate and comment.

I wonder if the State of Oregon objecting to the settlement of the $500 million punitive damages award had anything to do with this decision?

"But the parties struck a new deal in late May that excluded punitive damages, and Judge Kathleen Dailey approved that deal on June 7.

Oregon law directs 60 percent of any punitive damages awarded in the state to victims services programs. Williams put the state's share of the original judgment at $210 million.

"We do have an interest in these punitive damages," she told Reuters. "You cannot simply exclude the state in the settlement negotiations."

Oh, and another thing. I’m all in favor of spending money to help the movement of freight around town. I’m opposed to spending a single cent so that people can move to Vancouver for a bigger house or to avoid brown people, but spending money on distribution channels is always money well spent. However, if you think a multi-billion dollar company would move because the last 2 miles of what is for most of the trucks a thousand-plus mile journey, you may be reaching a tad in order to make the usual accusation.

As for Boeing, if Seattle is famous for anything it is its lack of public transport. It’s gridlocked, which is odd because I’ve been told that wider roads solve that. Again, I suspect that Boeing moved production to China and elsewhere for reasons other than delays on the 5. And the fat cats sitting in Chicago are there thanks to a huge subsidy and to be closer to the real head office in DC. It’s a fine lesson in socialism for the wealthy our fine money-is-speech way of doing business.

God knows I don’t want to defend Homer, but half of whatever you consider to have been in the suitcase handed to him would not make the slightest difference to the good fold at Daimler. These are the geezers that just wrote off tens of billions on the Chrysler debacle.

I suspect that Freightliner is pulling up stakes on account of the tram.

*******If somebody had offered Freightliner half of what we handed to Homer Williams, they'd be expanding in Portland, not leaving.******

Well the Freightliner CEO only pays $137 a year in property taxes on his $2.2 million dollar Pearl District Rowhouse. (Oregonian 11/13/2005) Does that count?

It's a start anyway. Surely it helped him to afford his second home in North Carolina.

Greg C

Mayb'e we can re-name Going street to Hugo Chaves Blvd. and get UPS and Fed-ex to leave as well. We would feel so much better about ourselves.

ahh, the blessed myth that large corporate decisions are based on whether or not a city/county/state offers reduced taxes and incentives.

the facts always prove otherwise, nationwide. always, for the past 130 years.

Sherwood, I thought I made it simple enough that one could not assume I was not suggesting Boeing leaving Seattle was caused by Portland's MAX. Why do you play word games-its a waste of time?

I am family/work connected with Seattle and read/watch news from Seattle; plus have friends connected with Boeing. The issue of moving goods/services has been a point of contention for Boeing several decades. Much of their expressed concerns occurred behind the scenes and not in the media (some leaked out as reported by ST and PI, as many business tend to practice. Even a coffee shop is concerned about cost of doing business and that includes cost of delivery of goods/services. Obviously Boeing cannot transport a wing on a monorail or lightrail. My point was not to say that MAX is bad as you contrived, but that the balance of priorities is not addressing roads.

Since 1954 when I-5 in the Portland area was completed there has not been one lane capacity increase even though the population has more than tripled and trips have more than quadrupled. But you're probably "thinking", "we can't build roads to match needs, they'll just fill up".

That same "thinking" can and will someday be applied to light rail, all things reach their capacity. In fact, that capacity has been reached and will soon be demonstrated again when the new transit mall is completed downtown. Why are we spending millions downtown?-because for one reason-capacity was reached. If we applied the same "thinking" about roads to light rail, then we shouldn't be increasing LR capacity, or adding lines.

As for me, I don't want to dictate where people live or who they might want as friends. As for Seattle, they have a reasonably good transit system, but for now it is primarily a bus system with great express buses and electric buses and a downtown bus subway, and they are adding light rail and have commuter trains. As for Homer, whether its tens or hundreds of millions for Homer compared to billions for Daimler, I see no difference.

Sorry for the double negative in the first sentence.

Economic development aside, I just saw Storm Large and Wade McCollum in Cabaret today and I'm wondering if any of those 341 Freightliner managers have seen it. If so, how the hell can you move to Fort WTF, S.C.?
It's 40 miles from Charlotte, across a state line, which could be a whole different world. I'm picturing a city that looks like Hwy 224 that runs through Milwaukie, though it may be worse.

I'm wondering how many will take that "generous settlement package."

Is Oregon anti-business or are big businesses anti-people?

I'm wondering how many will take that "generous settlement package."

Sad, Freightliner provides a lot of good paying jobs to Portland citizens. Unfortunately they’re not the type of jobs that City Council appreciates. If Portland isn’t anti-business it is very apathetic about keeping or recruiting this type of business (manufacturing, automotive). The perception is that Portland government doesn’t care about business and perception is reality in business recruitment and retention, especially when leadership is in denial about any possible negative effects from a move like this. My guess, the corporate offices will be gone within three years.

Sam Adams offered Columbia Sportswear $50 million in incentives to move into the Burnside Bridgehead project. Of course they don’t actually manufacture anything as evil as diesel trucks. Those jobs aren’t coming back either as Columbia told Sam thanks but no thanks.

City Council needs to get over their arrogance and understand that a pretty view of a mountain, a cute (but slow) streetcar and close proximity to outdoor recreation isn’t enough to lure companies that provide livable wage jobs. Without companies like Freightliner and the taxes they and their employees pay, Jack’s debt-o-meter will continue to climb.

Another guess, without Freightliner, Lufthansa flights from PDX will also be done within three years.

The perception is that Portland government doesn’t care about business and perception is reality in business recruitment and retention

why is refusing to completely pander to corporate considered "anti business"?

in other words, since when is it the role of government to serve large corporations?

what nonsense.

I have been to Fort Mill, SC. My company has a factory about 30 minutes away. Believe me, the CEOs didn't move to SC for a better quality of life.


Get a grip!
YOU said -----"And yes, at least we do still have the condos and the source of tax income they supply."

Nearly every dime of those property taxes will be going to repay Portland's massive Urban Renewal debt.

FOR DECADES, until the debt is retired.

Unfortunately the city keeps extending the UR district and raising the debt limits so it's hard to say if any REAL money will return to the taxing jurisdictions and the basic services the rest of us are paying for, any time sooner than 40 or 50 years from now.

So, stop putting lipstick on the pig.

"why is refusing to completely pander to corporate considered 'anti business'?"

Oh, Portland already has an army of panderers, but we would get better results if the mayor would all commit one hour a day to trying to retain businesses. It wouldn't have worked for Freightliner, but it could work for other businesses, and it wouldn't cost anything compared to subsidies or the pandering army.

We need to rename South Carolina the state of Chavez and send union organizers there by the thiousands. We also need to extend light rail to Vancouver so people cannot flee there to avoid the poor and people of color. We also need to redistribute poor people to Lake O, Alameda,Dunthorp, Eastmoreland,Council Crest, SO What, and Bridlemile where Commissioner Sten lives and stop ghettoizing targeted neighborhoods AND Oregon Dems have got to stop taxing the middle class while cutting taxes for the wealthy and awarding people for bad choices as drugs, alcohol and having babies they cannot afford

Lufthansa will not leave. There hub in Frankfurt serves destinations all over Europe, Africa, and Asia so they are usefull to a bunch of business in Portland and the northwest. Northwest is also adding nonstop service to Amsterdam. Which is a testament to the demand for nonstop service to Europe from Portland.


How are you mate? Last time I pointed out the obvious I got in trouble with our host. Let’s just say pot meet kettle and leave it at that.

I seem to remember a post last week about the Portland Business Alliance (those radical lefties) wanting one of the UR districts to be retired. According to their analysis the improvements would generate enough new taxes to pay if off in a few years and then future revenue should be used for a new UR in a more deserving area. Nobody seemed interesting in chatting about that, I assume because it didn’t fit the party line.

Sherwood, Sherwood, Sherwood,

A nano moment of sanity, a shift, does not make.

There's always been some rumblings about letting this or that UR district expire and let it pay off.

But in this case the PBA is suggesting that ONE of the UR districts be retired so another can replace it.
Wow! Now how is that a shift from the status quo except on paper?

As far as paying the one off in a "few years" I'd like to know more.
If they got that info from the PDC, yikes!
ving area.

Nobody seemed interesting in
chatting about it because UR is the municipal credit card funny money for fun and games.

AND, as usual youmissed entirely the point I was making in respinse to you bit about ---"at least we do still have the condos and the source of tax income they supply."
Which is NO WE DON"T HAVE the tax money they supply. It nearly all goes to pay off the credit card. And if you look at the specific amounts and payoff timeframes you'll know those tax dollars will be diverted for decades.

Try and establish some absolutes for crying out loud.
It leads to forward movement.

There are a remarkable number of Eeyores here. Freightliner is picking up and moving -- it must be the Tram, MAX, and those damned politicians .. ARGH!! And all the increase in venture capital money reported in the paper today (yes, I know we don't match WA and CA) ... it's also the fault of the Tram, MAX and thse damned politicians?!? Myopic idiots.

“If the city paid off the debt in those areas early, it would be done by 2013” said Karen Williams, chair of the PBA's Development Committee. Paying off the regions early would return millions in taxes to local governments in four or five years, she noted. And it would let the city start a new URA downtown in four or five years, the main reason the PBA likes the idea. The business group envisions always having urban renewal funds available "to keep the central city as the region's economic engine and to keep it vital," Williams said.

Ahhhh the stench of failure. God forbid we should continue down this road of making Portland better. Let’s just sit back and watch the manufacturing jobs head to China and Mexico while whinging on blogs. Portland could become the new Detroit, and we could all have fun talking about the good old days that never were.

Sorry you are all wrong, it is caused by global warming.

Sorry you are all wrong, it is caused by global warming.

Posted by Steven | November 2, 2007 5:59 PM

And don't forget Bush 43 messed it up too.

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