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Oregon Freeze Dry makes more layoffs

Oregon Freeze Dry makes more layoffs

032217-adh-nws-File Oregon Freeze Dry01-my

Workers load trays of lasagna onto a cart to be freeze dried for a Mountain House product at OFD Foods in Albany in January 2013.

OFD Foods, doing business as Oregon Freeze Dry, laid off about 25 full-time employees last week, said an official of the Albany-based business.

A major factor in the decision was the continuing fallout from a significant customer seeing a downturn in demand. Oregon Freeze Dry, the makers of Mountain House and other products, didn’t have as many orders as expected. The current round of layoffs is actually the second related to that significant customer.

“This was something we hoped we wouldn’t have to do. … We had hoped that with a normal season, we’d be able to keep everyone busy,” said Becky Boyer, assistant to Oregon Freeze Dry President Jim Merryman. The cuts were based on seniority, she added.

Oregon Freeze Dry had actually increased employment levels last year based on revenue and production projections, Boyer said. The customer’s reduction in orders resulted in production being suspended at Oregon Freeze Dry’s New York plant in July. That facility had been in operation for less than a year. During the summer layoffs, pink slips were handed out to 20 workers in New York and 10 administrative employees in Albany.

The company hopes to bring its New York facility back online in the coming years. “We’re meeting with new customers, looking at new products, to fill up the capacity that we have,” Boyer said.

Oregon Freeze Dry has more than 400 employees in Albany, Boyer said. The company is continuing an $8 million expansion at its Albany headquarters, and that should be complete late this year, she added.

Kyle Odegard can be contacted at 541-812-6077 or kyle.odegard@lee.net.

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