Governor Kitzhaber praised ConAgra Foods Lamb Weston's estimated $200 million expansion plan, adding a new line to its Boardman plant to increase its capacity for making french fries and other frozen potato products. The company said the expansion is expected to create 100 new full time jobs and approximately 200 construction jobs for the region.
"We are excited about ConAgra Foods' commitment to expand its operations in the Columbia Basin," said Governor Kitzhaber. "This is a great example of a successful partnership between the State of Oregon, the Port of Morrow, the city of Boardman and Morrow County to help ensure that a major employer expands and can continue to be successful in the region for years to come."
At a ceremony today, Business Oregon Director Tim McCabe was joined by local officials and company executives as he presented them with a $350,000 check for a forgivable loan from the Governor's Strategic Reserve Fund. The award is contingent upon the company creating approximately 100 new full-time jobs over a two-year period.
In addition to the SRF loan, city and county officials extended enterprise zone benefits to the company for the expansion, and Business Oregon's Infrastructure Finance Authority expects to work with the Port of Morrow on infrastructure improvements at the site.
"Our need to expand is a testament to our strong customer partnerships, our great-tasting french fries, and the outstanding work our employees do every day to create food people love," said Rick Martin, vice president, Global Operations, ConAgra Foods Lamb Weston. "This expansion also reflects our confidence in the region's growers to deliver high-quality potatoes while working with state and local government to ensure long-term, sustainable growing practices. We specifically appreciate the efforts and support of the Columbia River Enterprise Zone, Port of Morrow, city of Boardman, Morrow County and the State of Oregon and are proud to be an active part of this thriving community."
ConAgra Foods Lamb Weston is one of the largest employers in the Columbia River Basin -- an area known for growing high-quality potatoes and other vegetables. The company operates seven facilities in the region, employing nearly 4,500 people, including 500 employees in Boardman and 500 in Hermiston.
ConAgra Foods, Inc. announced the $200 million expansion plans late last year, and construction of the 192,000 square foot, state-of-the-art addition is expected to begin in early 2013 with completion in 2014.