Illustration by Lucien Guidotti-Lawrence // The Torch

After planning to have wrapped up production of their premier Class A coach, Winnebago Industries is closing their Junction City location leaving only thirty employees. They will relocate to another campus in their home state of Iowa.

The service center will remain open.

They had only been here two years when the announcement was made. In a statement to the Register Guard, Winnebago Vice President Brian Hazelton said the reason was that they “have not achieved our targeted operating efficiency and profitability goals.”

When first arriving here, the city commissioners voted to allocate $100,000 of video lottery funds to fund what was necessary to open the plant. Sadly, that only left around $60,000 for them to allocate to other projects that first year.

This 2019 closure will result in the current staff of 250 being diminished to only thirty employees.

Where the rest will go remains to be seen, however, there are some hopeful prospects here in Eugene.

Mohawk Metal, a locally-owned metalworking business here in Eugene, was reported by KVAL as interested in “scooping-up” some of the displaced employees. The companies owner, Tony Bloom, said that it would be a way to help the local economy.  

He added that “Winnebago employees are well-trained and have skills very similar to what we need at mohawk.”

However, if going into another job right away isn’t their “cup-of-tea,” they are very welcome to come here to the Lane Community College Diesel Technology program.

LCC Diesel Technology faculty member Steve Webb said “we would be happy to accommodate their former employees and help transition them into new careers,” adding that “the diesel industry continues to get stronger and in turn produces many job opportunities for our graduates.”

Furthermore, Webb said that they “have an advisory committee in our program with more than 30 companies represented, they are all looking for new employees currently and many of them have several positions to fill.”