December 16, 2012 in Region

Longtime Oregon window maker plans expansion in N.C.

Associated Press
 

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. – Oregon’s largest private company – door and window maker Jeld-Wen – is creating a North American headquarters in North Carolina instead of its longtime southern Oregon base in Klamath Falls.

The company said it would retain its global headquarters in Klamath Falls.

The decision, announced Thursday in North Carolina, dismayed Oregon and Klamath Basin officials.

The company employs about 20,000 people worldwide, about 1,200 in the Klamath Falls area and 2,400 statewide, the Klamath Falls Herald and News reported.

In Charlotte, the company said it plans to create 142 jobs over the next two years and invest $2 million.

The company suffered in the 2008 housing crash, and Onex Corp., a Canadian private equity firm, acquired a majority stake last year, ending family control. Founder Dick Wendt died in 2010.

North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue’s office released details Thursday of a state Job Development Investment Grant valued at $2.5 million.

Tim Crowley, a spokesman for North Carolina’s Commerce Department, said his state landed Jeld-Wen’s expansion in competition with Georgia. He said Jeld-Wen also considered South Carolina and Florida, as well as Klamath Falls.

He said one big Jeld-Wen customer, Lowe’s Cos., is in Mooresville, N.C., while the headquarters of Home Depot Inc., another big customer, is in Atlanta.

Officials in economically ailing southern Oregon said the company blindsided them, and they noted the state’s legislative special session Friday that voted to keep Nike Inc. from expanding in another state, the Oregonian reported.

“The governor and the state of Oregon ought to be thinking about the entire population of the state,” said Dennis Linthicum, chair of the Klamath County commissioners, “not just a handful of well-tuned or well-oiled special interests.”

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