By Molly • 

Sheridan lands new manufacturing plant

SHERIDAN -- The Construction Equipment Company, which employs 47 workers at a manufacturing facility in Tualatin, is planning to move into one of three buildings where Liberty Homes once manufactured mobile homes in Sheridan.

The company, founded in 1981 by Roger and Gary Smith, manufactures portable rock crushing and screening equipment for the aggregate, recycling, compost and wood waste industries, up to and including complete crushing plants. The site where it is proposing to establish its local satellite operation is located just off Highway 18B at 540 S.E. Jefferson St.

Gary Smith said plans are to begin operations shortly after the first of the year with a workforce of 15.

He said the site includes 3.6 acres of land, and the company has purchased another 4.5 acres extending out to the highway. He said that is designed to support an operation eventually employing 50.

“The timing wasn’t right, but the building was right,” he said. He said he wants to be ready to accelerate production as soon as the economy turns in the construction industry.

Smith showered accolades on City Manager Frank Sheridan and his colleagues at the city, and on Executive Director Jody Christensen and her colleagues at the newly formed GROW Yamhill County, for helping make it happen. He also extended gratitude to state economic development officials, saying he hadn’t gotten such a quick, coordinated and solution-oriented response before in his 30 years in the business.

The property is being sold by Liberty Realty Enterprises LLC. It is being purchased by L&T Properties LLC, which Smith manages.

The deed, recorded at the county clerk’s office, lists a purchase price of $730,000. It shows CEC leasing the property from L&T Properties.

Smith said 62 percent of his workers make their homes in Yamhill County anway, so expanding here makes sense. And he said Highway 18 provides the company with good access to Interstate 5, a key factor in his thinking.

Sheridan was elated.

“This development is going to be a game changer for Sheridan’s local economy,” he said. “It’s a high-profile building, and we want everyone to know that Sheridan is open for business.

Christensen agreed. She described CEC as “a fantastic, well-respected, longtime company from Oregon that is very community-minded.”

Smith responded, “We are excited to become part of the Sheridan and Yamhill County community.”

In her capacity as executive director for the McMinnville Economic Development Partnership, Christensen works with GROW Yamhill County to foster economic development on a countywide basis. In forming the partnership, the county agreed to funnel $107,000 of its annual video poker revenue into the new effort.

GROW Yamhill County was a resource for CEC’s initial site tours, and was instrumental in making the connections with the county and Business Oregon for the city of Sheridan and CEC.

“Projects like this are exactly why the board of commissioners made the decision to develop GROW Yamhill County,” said Commissioner Mary Stern. “The board supports job creation, and GROW is helping to create a business environment where companies can do just that. We are eager to welcome CEC to our county.

CEC has already started making improvements to the facility while working with the McMinnville WorkSource Center of the Oregon Employment Department to fill the jobs. It will need welders, production workers and support staffers.

“It’s great for Sheridan and it’s fantastic for Yamhill County,” Christensen said.

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