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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Farewell to Freightliner

The truck manufacturer says it's pretty much closing down its Portland shop. Bad news for the local economy. But of course, Fireman Randy and the rest of the spendthrift City Council will spin this to justify more wasteful pork barrel spending. "Think of the soccer stadium as a stimulus program." Don't worry about paying for it -- the money will grow on the trees. Go by streetcar!

Comments (27)

Freightliner did just fine here for decades and would have been fine now had it not become a subsidiary of Daimler, which doesn't give a beaver's butt about Portland. All it wants is the cheapest labor possible (Mexico, N. Carolina) and proximity to the HQ in Germany.

The problem with big Oregon employers is they aren't big enough and keep getting swallowed up by bigger corporations elsewhere (e.g., Willamette Industries, Meier & Frank, Blitz-Weinhardt).

Naw, could never be Portland's insane policies could it?

Nothing to do with the $200 mil that the state is trying to extort from Freightliner?

No, as all big companies leave Oregon, it is never the fault of crazy government policies that drive up costs.

When will you realize that the problem is excessive government nit-picking and government greed?

"... realize that the problem is excessive government ...."

No. Realize that the problem is LIARS programming illiterate victims of broadcast disinformation to think that.

As for Freightliner, it is going to be harder and harder to sell diesel-fueled vehicles as Earth's oil is greedily consumed. Read for yourself, (not broadcast), as a matter of fact: ... Regarding The Connection Between Peak Oil and the Collapse of the Monetary System, Posted by Gail the Actuary, October 13, 2008

Could I have a little more information about this "extortion" attempt?

Anybody with a pulse knew that this moment was coming. I guarantee that every member of the council would have danced naked with carrots up their arses if they thought it would have stopped the move. It wouldn't. If those that love NAFTA would show us the benefits that we have received rather than making snide comments it would at least make it a game.

And, by the way, you should go by streetcar. It's a lovely, clean, efficient system that marks Portland out as a city with a chance at a future.


I would not call it extortion myself but I had no clue this rule exhisted until Oregon hit Freightliner with it. Basically we have a law that says if a business is sued and loses the state gets a percentage of the damages awarded.

I'm fuzzy about the facts because I read about it last year. But, a company sued Freightliner for damages, the case went to court. Freightliner reached a settlement with that company before the trial was over. So even though Freightliner did not "lose" in court the state of Oregon told them they still wanted their 200 million pieces of the pie.

Was it the cause of Freightliner leaving Oregon? I doubt it but it surely was one of the nails in that coffin.

Sherwood, the Streetcar only goes 7mph average. 7mph is not the future. The thing doesn't even have enough power to reliably make it up the slight incline at 11th and Taylor, and has to sit and charge up for 10 minutes. That's just plain pathetic.

With regards to Freightliner, I could have seen it coming a million miles away. Just another example of CoPo's anti-business policies.

Darrin you are right, you are fuzzy.

The law is nit much like what you assert.

If, and only is, a defendant is found liable for punitive damages (not general damages, not economic damages, only punitive damages) the state gets 60%(or now maybe 80%)of the punitive damages. And only the punitive damages. The money the state collects on punitive damages cases goes to the Crime Victims Compensation Fund, relieving the General m Fund of that burden.

We could have a long debate about the merits or lack pf same underlying the policy, but I doubt you'd understand.

There is nothing extortionate about it. Daimler got sued, a claim for punis went to a jurt and the jury returned a verdict, including punis, against Daimler. The judgement became final.

AIUI, Daimler tried to pull a fast one, trying to satisfy the general damages award, only, after the judgment became final. The state said something to the effect "Hello, you seem to have forgotten the punis award percentage that goes to the state for injured crime victims"

State DOJ did exactly the right thing.

Let's not forget all the jobs our local leaders have spent our money creating.
Creative Services Jobs
Airport Hanger jobs
Portland Shipyards jobs
Biotech research jobs
And now, Sustainability jobs.
If it weren't for those opposed to more taxes for them to invest we would have even more success stories.

You should be more worried about Peak Nonsense collapsing your mentality systems. This idea you echo is like Peak Food when the alarmists said population growth would starve the planet.

"it is going to be harder and harder to sell diesel-fueled vehicles"

Oh and when might that be tensky?
70-80 years from now?

So good thing the plant and jobs are leaving now?

Sherwood, How is the Streetcar efficient? Efficient at what?
It's not a good substitute for anything.
Not personal vehicles or even rubber tired buses that can go anywhere,,, and rubber tires duel fuel trolleys could have driven anywhere and then hooked up to streetcar wires.


A judgement is one thing and paying is another. Freightliner, after the judgement, reached a payoff settlement
with the planitiff. So the matter was not settled until a judgement payoff agreement was reached and paid.

Oregon, typical politics, would have wanted the judgement to sit endlessly without settlement and payment.

But it wasn't their call. Now they want their moeny as if the whole judgement remained.

We the investors in Oregon Wilderness Moonsuit Tours are excited about Freightliner's move.

With Intel heading to China all all we need next is for Nike to split for Vancouver, BC.

"Fireman Randy and the rest of the spendthrift City Council will spin this"

They won't even bother. They'll just start another committee to fight the "perception" that no businesses want to move to Portland.

Beisdes Randy/Sam have built their entire careers on the largesse of the taxpayers, what would they know about creating jobs? Heck, Sam's economic/job creation person's last job was writing grants for subsistence farmers in Africa.

Say hello to Portland's version of George Bush and incompetency. Keep Portland weird by streetcar!

When I first moved to Portland in 1996, I worked for a now-long-dead Web design studio off SW 18th. We had plenty of clients, but the job I honestly enjoyed the most was printing up all of the Web stats for Freightliner and FedExing them over to the headquarters. I say that I enjoyed this because the crew at Freightliner honestly seemed thrilled to get their reports every month, and let me know this.

And now the whole company's going. Here's a quick math question: how many minimum wage "groovy retail" positions will need to be created to replace the wages and taxes previously coming through the city via Freightliner, and will that number of bookstore and coffee shop positions exceed the number of stars in the known universe?

, by the way, you should go by streetcar. It's a lovely, clean, efficient system that marks Portland out as a city with a chance at a future.

Since, as a COP business permit holder, I'm required to subsidize these woefully inefficient relics, the implementation of which directly results in the elimination of more cost-effective and convenient bus lines...perfectly good bus lines I happen to use myself sometimes...

I'll ask the question for about the thirtieth time on here, to what I'm guessing will be either more disingenuous premise-splitting, or more resounding silence.

Does anyone have any sound, unbiased figures regarding the consumption of coal per passenger mile by our current rail system ?

Does anyone have any figures on how much more coal is going to be burned in conventional coal-fired plants in order to power the streetcar expansion ?

Time to raise taxes to create more government jobs. That seems to be all they know how to do.

As a very happy renter who pays ~5% of his income on housing I've always thought YOUR property taxes were way too low.

People in America love to point finger. Comments so far are blame the city government, blame NAFTA, blame greedy Germans, blame State government claims, blame peak oil. Some of these comments have a little merit, but they all miss the plain economic fact.

The reality is that Portland is in a poor location for a truck manufacturing plant. Many suppliers are far away as are most consumers. If you were to start a transportation equipment manufacturing plant anywhere in America, the Northwest would not be on the top of the list. That has nothing to do with costs (labor is a little higher, corporate taxes and energy are cheaper, so it is a bit of a trade off). It is simply not near the center of component manufacturing nor at the transportation hub of a large population center.

I, for one, welcome our new Solar Overlords.

(At least until their tax credits run out and they go out of business.)

"I've always thought YOUR property taxes were way too low."

Nothing stops you from writing a donation to OR Dept of Revenue. After Joe Biden thinks its patriotic to pay more taxes. Or are taxes always something someone else should pay?

Besides as a renter, what do you care about property taxes?

"Regarding The Connection Between Peak Oil and the Collapse of the Monetary System,"

Now tell us why the price of oil has dropped through the floor. If it was in such short supply, why is it $75/bbl instead of $150/bbl. Why is local gasolene below $3 instead of above $5?

Looks more like a speculative bubble burst than a real shortage. If it were a real shortage, India & China would still be sucking up every drop and supporting the price.

Peak oil is merely more scaremongering from the illiterate class.

Freightliner's Jim Hebe was dissed by Gov. Kitzhaber after requesting a face to face meeting following a large truck order that was awarded to Volvo (for snowplows, I think) because they were the low bidder. The RFP failed to award any extra points for production inside the State of Oregon or local economic impact.

So Jimbo went to Salem, and was left waiting in "a broom closet" (his words) beyond the appointment start time, and then Kitzhaber basically told him to pound sand. In short, Jim Hebe was not accorded a fair hearing, and felt disrespected. Hebe made up his mind to begin relocating future jobs outside the State of Oregon after that meeting. Other interactions with City of Portland, MultCo, and State of Oregon were similarly frustrating. Effectively, the message sent to Freightliner was that governmental economic development was all about courting new technologies, and that the old manufacturers were on their own. In response to Freightliner's feedback, they threw some economic development funds at Freightliner (job training, wind tunnel, etc) but it was too little, too late. The vast majority of future production capacity was being developed in Mexico and North Carolina.

When the Germans found out the State had their hand out for a stake in the punitive damages award (because of accounting fraud committed by a British Subsidiary of Western Star trucks that FREIGHTLINER NEVER OWNED), they decided to pull the plug entirely. Why? Because they couldn't believe that Oregon Courts had jurisdiction over misdeeds which transpired in England and Canada, that such a large award ($850 million?) was disproportionately outsized to the alleged misconduct That the State of Oregon would expect to profit from this travesty went beyond the pale: they decided not to walk, but to run away.

My prediction: five years from now, they will have a back-up I.T. center on Swan Island, and maybe a refurbishing
center for used trucks or government work. The Portland "Headquarters" designation is de facto untrue, if you examine where the bigwigs are located and the majority of employees are located. I think they are actually incorporated in Delaware, like most of the Fortune 500.

Nothing stops you from writing a donation to OR Dept of Revenue.

What part of "Your" do you not get, loanowner.


No offense, but you are an insane wingnut.

The price of oil has dropped because international capitalism has collapsed. People are worried about buying bread for their families. Companies can't function due to the collapse of the capital markets. The demand for oil has plummeted and, therefore, so has the price. Total production has not increased, Mexico and Venezuela have long since peaked and Saudi Arabia is still lying. If McCain is elected (or even Obama for that matter) and things continue to collapse, I agree that we will never run out.

I did a little research on the “extortion.” The alleged business-hating powers that be in Multnomah seem to have done everything possible to get Freightliner off having to pay this legal obligation. In hindsight that was a terrible mistake. They should now do everything possible to make them follow the law of the land. We’ll need the money to clean up their mess.

Go by streetcar.

Sherwood is correct. The city filed an amicus brief on behalf of Freightliner -- against the state.

Bob W: please tell the Gov. that Oregon/Portland is not the "transportation hub" and "center of component manufacturing" before he succeeds in spending $100s of millions of dollars of taxpayer money to subsidize trying to bring electric car manufacturing to Oregon. We need reality.

I'm still waiting for all the creative jobs, biotech jobs, trolley car manufacturing to come to Oregon.

Hmm, lets see if I've got this straight. The State of Oregon goes with the low bidder for some trucks rather than support local business.

Freightliner, trys to reduce costs by moving the jobs to Mexico so that next time they can be the low bidder.

The system seems to be working just fine even if it does leave a few hundred families without jobs. If the State of Oregon wanted the jobs to stay I suppose they could've gone with the higher priced local option and helped subsidize the jobs.

Ben --

You so don't get it.

The state is a judgment creditor, separateely named as such in the judgment.

A Defendant can't pick one judgment creditor to pay off and then claim all judgment vreditors are paid off and satisfied because the defendant has paid one.

Please try to l;earn a little bit before you post.


You so don't get it.

It's not about the legality of the State's claim against Freightliner; it's about the message it sends to Freightliner's owners (Daimler) and to the myriad corporations that fear large punitive damage awards.

The State of Oregon and Multnomah County have made headlines over and over again demonstrating their overt hostility to business.

So Freightliner leaves, drip by drip, all the while denying they ever plan on leaving. Their largest truck manufacturing plan is in Saltillo, Mexico. The next two largest are in North Carolina. They're closing the also rans (in Portland and Canada). My guess is the only reason they haven't pulled the plug entirely is they still have some time on their Swan Island "HQ" lease and/or they received some State/County/City job training and/or economic development bribes which require them to "maintain their HQ" in Portland. So their HQ remains in Portland, despite all their manufacturing and executives being located elsewhere. Get it?

greed f--- the german's dont buy daimler proudcts buy america built and owend.

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