By Associated Press • 

Winnebago opening plant in Lane County

 

EUGENE — Winnebago Industries on Tuesday announced plans to open a manufacturing facility in Lane County.

The Iowa-based recreational vehicle maker will move into the former Country Coach RV manufacturing plant in Junction City, The Register-Guard reported.

The plant would hire 200 employees initially and likely expand. Winnebago estimates wages would range from $45,000 to $125,000, good money in a county where the average annual wage is $38,000.

“Winnebago is helping to breathe life into an industry that was largely lost during the Great Recession,” county Commissioner Jay Bozievich said in a statement. “Lane County has many skilled and talented workers in need of living-wage manufacturing jobs to sustain themselves and their families.”

The factory is expected to open in the second half of 2016.

Commissioners voted Tuesday to spend up to $100,000 of video lottery funds to help pay for the infrastructure improvements necessary to open the plant.

Video lottery funds are distributed by state and must be targeted for economic development activities. Tuesday's action leaves just under $60,000 for other projects through next summer.

Winnebago is among the market leaders in several different RV classifications. The Junction City plant would be the company's first manufacturing center on the West Coast.

“We need more capacity,” company vice president Scott Folkers said.

Lane County had been a hub of RV manufacturing until the recession led to plant closings. In the early and mid-2000s, the county was one of the nation's premier RV manufacturing centers, with major factories in Junction City and Coburg, and numerous parts suppliers and contractors throughout the county.

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Information from: The Register-Guard, http://www.registerguard.com

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