Daimler announces $150 million headquarters in Portland, no job cuts in Cleveland

CLEVELAND — The announcement on Friday by Freightliner’s parent company that it will build a $150 million headquarters and create 400 new jobs in Portland, Ore., will not mean job cuts at the Cleveland truck manufacturing plant, a spokesman said.

Daimler Trucks North America already employs about 2,000 people in Portland. Friday’s announcement ended speculation about Daimler’s commitment to its Portland headquarters.

Daimler had planned several years ago to shutter its Swan Island factory, fueling talk that the company would move its headquarters to the Charlotte region. Instead, the German-owned company announced a long-term commitment to Portland, unveiling plans for the new headquarters building and parking garage on its Swan Island campus.

“The announcement has no impact on jobs in the Carolinas,” said Dave Giroux, director of public relations and corporate communications.

Oregon and Portland worked together to provide incentives worth nearly $20 million to win the project, according to The Oregonian. The 400 new jobs will be high-wage, white-collar positions, Daimler said.

Also Friday, Daimler launched the Daimler Education in Motion program, which benefits Portland area public schools with more than $330,000 in donations and mentoring programs geared toward career development in engineering and manufacturing.

The planned 265,000-square-foot corporate headquarters building will merge Daimler employees located in offices separated by the Willamette River and accommodate the 400 new jobs the company anticipates it will need in conjunction with future business growth. Daimler expects to complete construction in 2016.

Daimler will not transfer departments from other sites to the new headquarters, President and CEO Martin Daum said Friday.

However, the new headquarters will have space to accommodate more personnel, so future growth is more likely to occur in Portland, he said.

“As we prepare for our future, our new headquarters building in Portland will position us for long-term business optimization and efficiencies while enhancing the employee experience in a contemporary, environmentally friendly and technically advanced facility,” Daum said.

Daimler has been headquartered in Portland for more than 70 years.

Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber said the company bolsters his state’s position as one of the most competitive in the nation for advanced manufacturing.

Daimler had announced in January 2012 it planned to hire 1,100 people to meet increasing demand for its trucks in the U.S. and abroad. But anticipated orders didn’t fully materialize, and the company hired only about half that number, recalling 550 employees who’d been laid off previously.

Earlier this year, Daimler cut about 600 jobs at truck manufacturing plants in Cleveland and Portland.

Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

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