Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski, Cardinal CEO Roger OShaughnessy and others gathered in Odell to witness the placement of the first structural column of the 185,000 square foot building. The facility will initially employ 70 to 80 people from the Columbia Gorge area and would not have been possible without a strong and unified effort to make the project a reality. Governor Kulongoski stated that he was pleased with the teamwork displayed on the project. According to the Governor, the economic development team from various state agencies to the local level worked closely to assist Cardinal in making the project happen. Of special note, Mr. OShaughnessy expressed his appreciation for the assistance Cardinal received, through the approval of a $100,000 grant from the Strategic Reserve Fund to assist in resolving an unforeseen problem with water flow for fire protection.
Cardinal Glass Industries is one of the United States leading glass manufacturers and has been regarded by Hood River County officials as an environmentally friendly company that creates family wage jobs along with energy-efficient windows. Cardinal Glass Industries has insulating glass operations in Wisconsin, Iowa, Indiana, North Dakota and Texas. The company manufactures coated, laminated, tempered and float glass at other United States locations. Rodger Schock, chair of the Hood River County Board of Commissioners reinforced the importance of this investment to the long-term economic vitality of the region. He expressed his hope that this would set the stage for additional investment in Hood River County and the Gorge.
According to Plant Manager David Windsor, résumés are arriving daily from Gorge residents hoping to work at the new assembly plant. Applications can be submitted through the Oregon Employment Department. The plant is scheduled to open in January and hiring will occur over the next several months to allow Cardinal IG to fully train the new hires. The new plant will be Cardinal Glass Industries second Northwest operation; the other facility is located in Tumwater, WA and manufactures coated glass. Glass panes from Tumwater will be assembled into all-climate windows at the Odell plant.
Diligent efforts by local and state officials have solved development issues identified when Mr. OShaughnessy announced in January his companys desire to move onto a former lumber mill site owned by the Hanel Development Group. This idle site has been known as the Lower Hanel Mill.
Cardinal Glass Industries decision to move to Odell spurred an effort in the Oregon Legislature that led to the creation of the Mill Bill, signed in June by Gov. Kulongoski. The Mill Bill streamlines the process to put abandoned timber mills back to work and was spearheaded by Rep. Patty Smith, R-Corbett and Sen. Rick Metsger, D-Mt. Hood. Kulongoski also embraced the Cardinal Glass Industries project, directing state officials to assist in securing the new jobs anticipated with the plant. The Mill Bill will assist in future efforts to attract new investment to the unused industrial mill sites located in the County and throughout the state.
Hood River Countys June unemployment rate was 11.1 percent, compared to 10.7 percent in June 2002. Hood River County ranked second from the bottom in the average wage and salary income during 2000; its $21,429 average was 35th out of 36 Oregon counties despite good transportation access and proximity to a major metropolitan area, Portland. Two events have occurred to ease Cardinal Glass Industries Oregon move. First, Cascade Locks expanded its state-designated Enterprise Zone to take in most of Hood River County, including the former Lower Hanel Mill. Hood River County also completed a land use exception process to allow immediate expansion of the Odell Sanitary District system to serve the Cardinal Glass Industries project. Hood River County Economic Development Coordinator Bill Fashing, working closely with Oregon Economic and Community Development Department, the City of Cascade Locks and the Ports of Cascade Locks and Hood River, was instrumental in resolving these key issues.
Cardinal Glass Industries originally considered a Cascade Locks location because of a proposal submitted to the State of Oregon by the City and Port of Cascade Locks. After close review, the original site was ruled out because of elevation. The all-climate window assembly process requires a higher elevation and the search was expanded to include other Hood River County sites. Thats when Windsor identified the Lower Hanel Mill site.
Cardinal Glass Industries was founded in 1962 in Minneapolis. Since then, it has led the industry in the development of durable insulating glass edge seal systems and the introduction of thermal performance improvements for residential glass. Today, Cardinal Glass Industries has more than 4,000 employees located at 18 manufacturing locations and two research and development centers with corporate headquarters located in the Minneapolis suburb of Eden Prairie.
Hood River County is located 60 miles east of Portland in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge, home to a diverse group of businesses and 70,000 people.