Douglas County diversifies

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Douglas County has a long history of boom and bust cycles associated with the wood products industry. But since the late 1970s, the boom-bust cycles have softened as the county’s economy diversified. Wood products jobs — once 30% of all jobs — made up 14% in 2005. Industries adding to the mix include durable goods manufacturing, health care, retail trade, construction and finance. In recent years, companies such as Dell, Bayliner, North River Jet Boats, Orenco Systems and Umpqua Bank have moved to or expanded in the county. Alpha Leisure, an RV manufacturer, expects to employ 200 in a new plant near Riddle. Greater diversity helped jobs grow 3.2% since 2001 despite cuts in federal government, local public education, and wood products. The recent loss in wood products is due largely to a fire that destroyed the Murphy plywood mill in Sutherlin. Murphy is currently building a new engineered wood products plant and expects to employ 100 at the site.

— Brian Rooney, regional economist
Oregon Employment Department


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