News Release
Release No.STELPRD4014885
ContactJill Rees, Public Affairs503-414-3302
WHITE HOUSE HONORS TWO OREGON BUSINESSES FOR JOB CREATION
Event Recognizes 71 Rural Manufacturers From Across the Country
Portland, Feb 24, 2012 --

@@Two Oregon manufacturers were honored last week at a White House event in Washington, D.C., to recognize recent manufacturing successes in rural America. ORPET, a newly formed plastics recycler in Warren, and Oregon Rug & Mattress, a Newberg-based manufacturer and retailer, were among the businesses featured for their success in creating and saving jobs in rural America.

“The manufacturing sector plays an important part in the nation’s economy,” USDA Rural Development Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager said. “These companies demonstrate that U.S. manufacturing – through innovation, dedication and tireless hard work – will continue to create jobs that keep Americans working and our rural communities thriving.”

The businesses honored have been supported by USDA Rural Development’s Business & Industry (B&I) Guaranteed Loan Program, which helps provide capital and technical assistance to create jobs and spur economic development. USDA has several other programs that aid businesses, promote job growth and foster regional economic partnerships. For more information on these programs, go to http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/ORbcp.html.

ORPET created 50 permanent jobs and nearly 100 construction and installation jobs in the St. Helen’s area with the development of a plant that will recycle up to 30 million pounds of polyethylene terephthalate (commonly referred to as polyester or PET) annually. Until now, Oregon’s recyclable plastics had been shipped to China for processing then re-purchased by American manufacturers at market prices. Beginning this spring, however, ORPET will receive, sort, wash, dry, decontaminate, and refine the plastics in Oregon then sell the recycled PET flakes to domestic businesses that make plastic drinking bottles, packaging material, textiles and other items. USDA Rural Development assisted the effort by providing an 80-percent Business and Industry guarantee on a $4,932,000 loan to purchase equipment and finance a portion of the facility’s construction.

“Our team knows the recycling business and what a valuable resource Oregon has with the plastic bottles covered under the new bottle bill,” said project partner Tom Leaptrott, who traveled to the Capitol for the event with Administration officials. “This resource has created jobs and will make a difference in our community. It was great being recognized at the White House with Administration officials for our efforts. The USDA Rural Development loan guarantee program, along with the support from state and local government, allowed us to secure the financing to make it happen. It truly was a team effort.”

Read more about USDA assistance for ORPET at: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/STELPRD4014838.html

Although they were unable to attend the event, Oregon Rug & Mattress was also recognized for an innovative restructuring effort, which also involved a USDA Rural Development loan guarantee. During a time when declining furniture sales threatened to pull the rug out from under them, the company was able to trigger strong, gradual growth through expanded retail operations. Not only did they save 38 Oregon jobs, but they have also added another 12 employees. Read more at: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/STELPRD4014837.html

The event was held at the White House Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Friday, February 17, and also included representatives of financial institutions that provided capital and support for the featured businesses.

“These companies exemplify what can be accomplished when government works with businesses, local officials and rural residents,” said Vicki Walker, State Director for USDA Rural Development.

Since taking office, President Obama’s Administration has taken historic steps to improve the lives of rural Americans, put people back to work and build thriving economies in rural communities.  From proposing the American Jobs Act to establishing the first-ever White House Rural Council – chaired by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack – the President is committed to a smarter use of existing Federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $165 billion in affordable loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.

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