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Vestas may leave Portland

by: KOIN NEWS 6 - Vestas is headquartered in the former Meier & frank building in Northwest Portland, but for how long?Vestas, the world’s largest wind turbine maker, is based in Denmark. They’ve had their North American headquarters in Portland since 2010.

KOIN 6 News learned they may be moving their headquarters to Colorado.

When they set up their headquarters in Portland, they spent $66 million on a renovation of the old Meier and Frank warehouse at 1417 NW Everett.

But if the company leaves, it could cost taxpayers millions of dollars.

The company got $2.5 million from the state, including a $1 million grant conditional on creating 400 jobs and retaining 100.

The state of Oregon told KOIN 6 News those conditions were met.

The City of Portland also gave the landlord and developer, Gerding Edlen, an $8 million, no-interest loan for renovating the building.

A representative of Gerding Edlen said Vestas hasn’t said anything to them about moving.

Vestas’ Portland workforce of 200 is about half of what it was in 2010. The company has given up about half the building to other tenants.

Mayoral spokesperson Dana Haynes said they haven’t heard if Vestas is planning to move. “We certainly hope they stay.”

When asked if the $8 million investment in the building was worth it, Haynes said yes.

“The loan isn’t due for awhile. When it is due, it’s due from the local developer. Still seems like a pretty good investment.”

No one from Vestas would speak with KOIN 6 News, but in a statement they said:

“Vestas is continuously looking for opportunities to optimize our geographic footprint across the globe and it’s no different in the United States. No decisions have been made regarding Vestas’s presence in Portland.”

The final word may come from their corporate headquarters in Denmark.

Residents like Eva Lake, who lives in the Pearl, remain philosophical about what may happen.

“Change is constant. Somebody will take that building,” she said, noting the building is a landmark. “So somebody will take it. I’m hopeful of that.”