LA GRANDE — La Grande-based Northwood Manufacturing and its related company Outdoors RV announced temporary shut downs of their recreational vehicle manufacturing facilities.
Northwood Investments, the parent company of Northwood Manufacturing and Outdoors RV, issued a news release explaining the closures "are a proactive measure to protect workers and the community as a whole as the coronavirus crisis spreads across the country."
"The global spread of COVID-19 is affecting every one of us," Northwood Investments CEO Craig Orton said in the news release. "The well-being of our employees, their families and our community is our top priority, so we have decided our best course of action at this time is a temporary shut-down," stated Northwood Investments CEO Craig Orton.
According to Business Oregon, the two plants employ 450 people. Northwood Investments did not specify how long the closures would last. The announcement came Monday afternoon in the wake of Gov. Kate Brown’s order prohibiting gatherings involving 25 or more people and urging Oregonians not to convene in groups of more than 10 people, the governor’s most drastic step yet to help contain the new coronavirus. She also banning on-site consumption of food and drink at restaurants and bars and urged any business that isn’t able to expand service to takeout or delivery to evaluate whether they should remain open.
"This is a challenging moment for everyone," Northwood Investments CFO Cerise Smallwood said in the announcement. "Our community has always risen to meet the challenges of the past, and we’ll rise to meet this one, too. We will do that with thoughtful decision making that will best protect everyone in our valley with an emphasis on transparency and communication."
Orton also stated the company is committed to continue serving its dealers and customers and key office and management personnel will be available to handle sales, warranty and service matters.
Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative in a similar move announced it is closing its offices in Baker City, La Grande, John Day and Burns to the public effective Tuesday at 5 p.m.
"The offices will remain closed to walk-in traffic until further notice," according to the cooperative’s announcement. "The drive-through window at our La Grande district office will remain open. Appointments for in-person business will be available by calling 541-523-3616."
Oregon Trail Electric also announced it is temporarily suspending late fees and disconnections.
"Please call our offices at 541-523-3616 if you are having difficulty paying your electric bill," according the news release, "we will work with you to set up a payment plan."
Wallowa-Whitman National Forest Service also closed its offices in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho to the public.
"In accordance with guidance from the Department of Agriculture to limit in-person interactions," according to a news release, "requests for visits to National Forest offices will be limited to necessary and time-sensitive business which cannot be handled over the phone or on the Internet."