Tillamook County Creamery Association

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Fifty local jobs will be lost as the Tillamook County Creamery Association looks to streamline its packaging and transportation systems, while expanding its market reach.

TCCA Board President Joe Rocha said the layoffs were one of the hardest decisions he has had to make as a board member.

“I wouldn’t want to be sitting here, if I was sitting here because that creamery failed,” he said. “Then I would feel like I failed. It’s a small town business, but it has to be a real business at the end of the day. It is a big business, and it’s easy for big businesses to fail.”

At the beginning of February, TCCA will shed approximately 50 jobs in its Tillamook packaging department. The news was announced to TCCA employees on Jan. 5. The cuts were approved by a vote of TCCA’s nine-member farmer board – evenly representing dairies in north, central and south Tillamook County – the prior day.

Some of the packaging operations currently handled in Tillamook will be outsourced to two packaging companies, Marathon Cheese in Idaho and Great Lakes Cheese in Utah.

The layoffs will affect nearly half of the approximately 110 employees in the Tillamook packaging department. Tillamook Cheese CEO Harold Strunk said the move would save “millions of dollars.”

“We’re now well over a $500 million company, and there are different expectations when you’re this size company,” Strunk said. “These are the kinds of things that our customers are demanding of us to be more user friendly. One of the things this provides is back-haul opportunity. Customers love to be driving right past your manufacturing facility, drop off their load at one of their stores and pick up your product on the way back to their warehouse.

“They don’t do that in Tillamook, Oregon. Mile-marker ‘zero’ on the West Coast is probably the most difficult place to distribute to the entire U.S.

“We still make ice cream here, we still make cheese here, it’s still going to be home to Tillamook Cheese and the visitors center,” he said. “We’ll still be running the packaging line for visitors through the weekend. The only thing that changes is we’ll be scaling back the amount of production that goes through this facility.”

But if online comments are a good indication of public sentiment, many residents think TCCA is changing – and it’s forgotten its small town roots. In the days following the announcement, a Facebook page, “I used to buy Tillamook Cheese when it was made in Tillamook” had 68 likes; “Boycott TCCA” had 10. Tillamook Cheese’s Facebook page of 191,000 fans was flooded with complaints about the decision.

That’s not counting the hundreds of negative comments on news media websites.

“It was not an easy decision,” said TCCA Board Vice President Shannon Lourenzo. “It was extremely tough. But we have to continue to do this to keep those other 450 jobs and keep these farms alive. We have to.”


Both Rocha and Lourenzo said fuel costs were a major factor in the layoffs.

“This has probably been brought to us over the years, it’s always been on the list of opportunities we need to look at,” Rocha said. “Because it’s people that we live with in the same community that we care about, we just would always say look around, let’s find other things first... Well, all of a sudden transportation costs are the number one out-of-line cost we’re dealing with. We’re forced to deal with it. We can’t ignore the cost of fuel anymore. We continued to hope that fuel would come down. It hasn’t happened.”

In 2000, TCCA added its Boardman, Ore. facility. Boardman makes large blocks of cheese, but the packaging has been done in Tillamook.

“When we decided it was OK to continue to package here, fuel was probably less than half of what it is now,” Rocha said. “Now, anything they can make up by being efficient here at the plant, it gets sucked up double-some in trucking it back and forth. And it really isn’t about anything else except in the long term, we’re never going to be able to afford to bring all the cheese to be packaged here and moved out.”

The Tillamook plant only packages block cheese, marketed as “loaves.” TCCA currently uses the Marathon plant in Mountain Home, Idaho to shred and slice all its cheeses. Now, Marathon will also take on the packaging of block cheese to be distributed regionally around Idaho. TCCA will work with a new vendor – Great Lakes Cheese in Fillmore, Utah – to package all types of cheese destined for the Southwest. Neither Marathon nor Great Lakes uses union labor in their packaging departments, a TCCA spokesperson confirmed.

The Tillamook plant will remain the distribution center for Oregon, Washington and northern California, but will no longer be packaging the block cheese destined for the Idaho and Utah distribution centers.

“In its worst form, because our distribution network was here, we would literally make blocks in Boardman, ship them back to Tillamook to age, ship them out to Mountain Home, Idaho to be shredded and sliced, ship them back to Tillamook to be distributed, then sometimes back to Idaho to customers,” Strunk said. “So you can understand the inefficiencies that was creating… You start doing the math at more than $5 a gallon for diesel.”

Today, production of Tillamook Cheese is split roughly 50/50 between Tillamook and Boardman. All ice cream is made in Tillamook. Other Tillamook brand products, such as yogurt, butter and sour cream, are licensed products produced by other companies. All local milk is processed in Tillamook, Rocha said.

Shredded and sliced cheese destined for Oregon-area markets will continue to be shipped to Idaho for packaging, then returned to Tillamook for regional distribution.

“One of the things we are now looking at is, can we bring shredding and slicing equipment here?” Strunk said. “That’s a longer term view, that’s not immediate, and we don’t know how many people that will bring back when we get to that point. But we have it on the drawing board. We’ll see if it comes to fruition.”

Rocha said future plans also call for the construction of a whey processing facility in Boardman, modeled after the existing facility in Tillamook. That would be a handful of jobs in Boardman, but it wouldn’t replace the 50 lost.

Asked if there would be more layoffs, Rocha said, “I hope not, but I’m also going to tell you that we’re going to have to continue to do everything we can, as efficient as we can.”


The TCCA has not announced to employees exactly which workers’ positions will be affected or what severance packages will be offered, pending negotiations with the Teamsters Local 58, which represents the packaging department’s employees.

Union spokesperson Walter LaChapelle said the average job affected pays about $16 per hour.

In a release, the Union called the TCCA’s decision “disappointing.”

“One of the local union’s first orders of business in response to this matter includes meeting with TCCA officials in an effort to ascertain answers regarding the complete basis for their decision,” a release stated. “Our hearts go out to these employees who are anticipating the devastating effects of losing these family and community sustaining jobs resulting from TCCA’s decision to outsource their work out of state.”

Union and TCCA officials are meeting this week to discuss what benefits and services will be provided to employees.

“We have in mind the package we would want to be able to offer to them of assistance and transition, but it has to be approved by the union,” Strunk said. “We haven’t been able to give people the details at this point. It’s approximately 50 positions, that doesn’t necessarily mean 50 people, but it’s 50 positions because we’ve been trying, through attrition, to get that number down as much as we possibly can.”

Struck added that layoffs were not anticipated for TCCA’s drivers, though their routes and work schedules may change.


The layoffs come at a time when TCCA is spending roughly $15 million to upgrade and expand the Tillamook plant. Strunk said the main purpose of the renovations was to replace aging equipment that was “absolutely mandatory.”

The renovations are also adding offices, a central lunch room and locker rooms. The latter is required to keep the facility within SQF (Safe Quality Foods) compliance, similar to an ISO rating for a manufacturing business. Many of TCCA’s customers require that the plant have a Safe Quality Foods certification.

“Those locker rooms were added for SQF certification purposes because we had no place for employees to change from street clothes into their work clothes to go into the production environment,” Strunk said. “This gives us certification that our customers are looking for, to signify that we make safe, quality products for their consumers.”

Rocha said the upgrades show that TCCA is committed to staying here in Tillamook.

“We’re spending money here for quality reasons and for safety reasons, and this really is about updating the plant and keeping it,” he said. “It’s a pieced together plant that started in the 1950s.”


If Tillamook Cheese wasn’t farmer owned, Rocha said there probably wouldn’t be a Tillamook plant at all.

Lourenzo cited the dairies farther south on the Oregon coast – Myrtle Point, Coquille – that couldn’t stay competitive with the dairies closer to I-5.

“It was a huge dairy area, now there’s 16 farms left,” he said. “They just cannot compete, but we’ve been fortunate enough to have Tillamook.”

He’s talking, specifically, about the brand. Both Rocha and Lourenzo said Tillamook Cheese has been able to survive “only because of the brand, one hundred percent.”

And that’s why so much money has been poured into marketing.

Last year, Tillamook Cheese took on an aggressive advertising campaign that included TV, social media, print advertising and a strong PR presence. A May 2011 New York Times article said the TCCA planned to spend $12 million in marketing last year – the largest amount in the co-op’s history.

Despite that marketing effort, Lourenzo said sales of Tillamook products have been flat the last three years.

“Since the recession hit, our numbers have actually been flat. Is that the new up? Probably,” Rocha said.

Where did that $12 million go? Part of it was the “Love Loaf” tour, which traveled the country in converted Volkswagen vans designed to look like loaves of cheese. A large chunk was also spent on television ads.

“We did TV in most of the western U.S., with the exception of Oregon and Washington where we’re really strong,” Strunk said. “And this year, it’s shown enough promise that we’re going to do that in Texas as well, and with that, hopefully gain some distribution and gain some volume.”

Rocha believes Tillamook’s growth will be based upon reaching a national, high-end market.

“It’s going to be expansion into new markets with high-end products, not two-pound baby loaves,” Rocha said. “It’s going to be chunks of three-year-old cheese that we do great. The kind that you would be used to going to the cheese counter or deli and paying $10-$12 a pound for. But to do that, you’re selling trunk-loads of cheese instead of truck-loads of cheese. And you have to make up a lot of trunk-loads to displace a truck-load.”  

And TCCA’s growth probably won’t lead to more jobs in Tillamook, he said. For effective distribution purposes, growth will be with warehouses and plants in more central points. As an example, TCCA thinks there could be a greater market for ice cream. But what gives ice cream its creamy texture is tiny pockets of air – and it doesn’t travel well over high-altitude mountain ranges.

“No, we’re not going to grow this facility here because, one, we don’t have the milk supply, and two, everything’s got to be trucked in and trucked out,” Lourenzo said. “This plant serves this area perfect the way it is.”

“Expansion isn’t probably going to happen here,” Rocha added. “This cheese factory was set up to continue to serve the farmers here. If the farmers go away from here, there isn’t going to be a plant here anymore because it’s the most inefficient place to have dairy processing because of location. It’s just expensive.”


The layoffs have also led to questions about the overall health of TCCA.

“This move is to make us more viable,” Strunk said. “We are very viable, this makes us more viable.”

Over the last decade or so, Strunk said the TCCA has lost about 75 dairy producers. And yet, the amount of milk production remains relatively steady. That’s because, he said, a tough economy has made it difficult for smaller operations to stay in business.

“There’s economies of scale that need to be met and some people just either retire or just economically don’t think it’s viable any more,” he said.

In December 2010, there were 24,315 milking cows in Tillamook County and 108 producers. Last month, those numbers dropped slightly to 24,140 cows and 105 producers.

“For the majority of dairy farmers, it’s probably been the toughest times. You can make a living, but as a rule, I think the margins have been the skinniest the last few years,” Rocha said. Farmers think, “If 40 percent of my milk check is going to pay for what my animals are eating, I can live.” Some farms are now spending 70 percent of their milk check on feed alone.

But the company itself is profitable. Without giving specific numbers, Strunk said, “you or I would love to own this company.”

Compared to other artisan cheese makers, TCCA is huge. At any one time, Lourenzo said TCCA is sitting on 10 percent of the nation’s cheese inventory. But compared to, say, Kraft products (not all of which is classified as “cheese,” by the way) TCCA is a tiny competitor.

“We are a tweener for sure, any way you try to cut it, that’s where our company is stuck and it’s unfortunate,” Rocha said. “The board of directors, way before we got involved, figured out that we could not sell the milk that we produced here turned into cheese and keep everybody happy and keep it a little artisan place. We were too big for that... So we already knew that the Safeways of the world would have to sell our cheese. Well, the problem is the Safeways of the world want you in all of their stores, or they don’t want to deal with that kind of thing. So we have to supply those people.”


When asked if other local employers could absorb the 50 cut positions, Rocha said, “I’m afraid that they can’t, and that was the hardest thing about making this decision.”

The Tillamook Cheese Factory currently employs 483 people, making it one of the largest employers in the area.

The industry, in general, also provides some of the higher-wage jobs in Tillamook County. According to WorkSource Oregon, in 2010, food manufacturing employed 822 people county-wide, had payroll of more than $32 million, and average wages of $39,333 annually.

While the community has other food manufacturing employers – Tillamook Smoker, Pelican Brewery, Pacific Seafood and other seafood processors – Shawna Sykes, analyst with WorkSource Oregon, doubted the existing businesses could employ another 40 to 50 people.

“I think the folks that are in those positions are going to need to look at other opportunities in different industries, because there’s really no substitution for those specific jobs in the Tillamook area,” Sykes said. “They’re going to have to look beyond what they’ve been doing and look at re-training opportunities.”

Tillamook County’s unemployment rate in November 2011 (the last date for which numbers are available) was 7.6 percent. That’s lower than the state average of 9.1 percent and lower than the county’s November 2010 rate of 10.1 percent.

County unemployment figures for January won’t be released until March 12. Still, Sykes said of the layoffs, “I don’t think it’s going to change (unemployment rates) a lot.

“The unemployment rate is based on a household survey, so it really depends on how many of those people end up in the survey,” Sykes said. “Even though it’s one of the most widely publicized statistics we put out, it’s also, frankly, inaccurate. It’s a very small sample. So what we really look at as analysts is what happens to that number over time.

“The Tillamook unemployment rate has kind of edged up in the last few years, so that’s kind of concerning, but it’s typically below the statewide rate on a regular basis, which is great. Not a lot of rural counties can say that.”



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(43) comments


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Indeed something has to be changed. If these changes would result in almost 1.3 million new jobs in 2013 than I can not wait to see these changes. I have many ways of making money online to have some money to spend every month, but I want a good job really soon. I don't have a job yet because I'm still a student.


If so many jobs were lost maybe they should hire a professional peo company to offer some advice on this matter. In such a small community, 50 jobs can be quite a big loss and people can find themselves in a lot of distress. I hope you find my advice useful.


It is time for Harold to retire one way or another!

We hear the board members offered a golden parachute to Harold that was better than the previous CEO's. But it is better to cut the losses as soon as possible and try to salvage some jobs in our county.

Board members you'd better wake up and save something. Remember, what the board members do, the farmers get.

cheri at the beach

Harold, isn't it time to retire?

cheri at the beach

Wow. The dream was to go to the Cheese factory in tillamook to get a job and insurance, sick pay, vacation pay, retirement pay and etc. Remember when the factory first opened? Well all of us living here do. But the rich people on the board who have never wanted for money do not care about anything. Only Money. You all better take a step back and look at all the blood swet and tears the employees and farmers and their workers have given you over the years. Wow. Shame on all of you.


The readers should refer to the 11-9-11 H.H. article titled “Corn on the Coast,” by Denise Porter. It says 600 acres of GM (genetically modified) corn were planted and fed to Tillamook cows for Tillamook Cheese. The article explained how the fields were sprayed with Roundup Ready (heribicide) and planted with GM corn, both products by Monsanto, the same company that makes rBST.

After reading that H.H. article, TCCA would make Tillamook cheese from milk produced from cows that ate all that GM corn? I have heard there was only one area farmer who did not use Roundup Ready and GM corn. I believe it was an organic farmer in Cloverdale, the Price’s Dairy, whose milk does not go to TCCA.

For the last 100 years, Tillamook cheese was produced from cows that grazed on family farms. Now, the area has some “factory farmers” who do not graze their cows at all. These few “factory farmers” now want to feed their cows with GM corn and have that milk used in making Tillamook cheese. YUK! Not my thing! I will not eat it.


DairyFarmer: Something you said earlier caught my attention. I hope you don't mind if I quote this from you - "Obviously they have looked at the costs that is why they have chosen to send our product east to be shredded and packaged there".

The word "they" and not "I". They looked at the costs and not you. Are you in the habit of giving people your money and not knowing how it is managed? Have you even looked the org. chart? Ceo, VPs, Directors, SR Managers, Managers, Supervisors, Leads.....and lets not forget the positions that are custom made for friends and family....It is the only company I know of that writes the job description around the candidates abilities!

My earlier comment about the county/state officials is that this county is in turmoil over this. It is obvious that we need jobs here, and we look to them for guidance.

ByStander: If Corperate HQ did not build their empire do you think that the farmers would feel the need to go along with this? Do you think they woke up one day and said: I think I'm going to layoff 50 production workers today? No, by building the empire it was necessary to make these cuts. With them still building the empire it will only come to more cuts - ice cream is next. Soon the company will be making nothing, out sourcing everything and selling it under the Tillamook brand. Only managers and execs will be there running it from their offices.

Ok I will mind my own business now...I get frustrated when I see good people getting taken advantage of.

deborah margaret

Those jobs that were lost and the farms that were also lost in the Bandon area that includes Mrytle Creek, were lost primarily that the well known Bandon Cheese plant was taken over by Tillamook Creamery Association and dismantled. What a way to destroy the competion in an " artesian cheese industry."..
Bandon cheese still had those cheese curds at the factory in Downtown Bandon and sold them to tourists along with Ice cream, butter all made with area milk from cows in grazing fields. Not the bare dirt pens of Boardman with GMO corn to feed the cows to make "Tillamook Cheese" as today.


If I read some comments right (honey badger, others), you want to eliminate jobs to save other jobs? Are you reading what you're saying? Sounds messed up to me.


DairyFarmer: I can only speak for myself here, but I see how hard the farmers work. I know that they don't get days off, get sick time, or get to take vacations. I appreciate all that you do knowing that it is no easy task! That is why it bothers me so very much to see that endless, fruitless spending that is going on at the corperate HQ.
That is why I keep asking for you hard working people to look at the positions there pre and post NAV. To question things like why are they still hiring? Why so many consultants? Why so top heavy? Why did you pay 2 million for NAV if only highly paid managers & etc can run it? I don't want to see the creamery to go away! I don't want to see the farmers being taken advantage of either. Don't you as a consumer want to get everything you can for the dollar? Do you not try to get the best price for the tractor that you need to do the job? Shouldn't corporate HQ spend your money as if they were spending their own money from their own pocket?

I know I am old fashioned in my thinking, but I feel as though being frugile (at all times) and being open and honest is a tried and true trait.

If you pay 3x more for cowX hoping to get more milk from it, but it proves that it produces the same as cowY which is much cheaper and gives the same result, would you continue to buy more cowXs?


I agree that the creamery has created nonsense jobs in the office, those should be eliminated too. People don't realize that the farmers are the ones who put in the "blood, sweat and tears" (quoted from an earlier post). We work 7 days a week 16 to 18 hours a day, in the summer it is more. Everything that we have goes into producing top quality milk, which produces the world's greatest cheese.

honey badger

I think what has been asked here over and over again, is please look into how top heavy the creamery has become. There are asst. to asst,. Have the farmers (not the ones on the board) ever seen a breakdown of job discriptions as well as wages and benefits of management.Also who has assistants and how many and how much they cost. I think you would be shocked to see it on paper.The creamery management has pulled the wool over the farmers eyes too.


Obviously they have looked at the costs that is why they have chosen to send our product east to be shredded and packaged there. The dairy farmers own the creamery, not the elected officals or the government. If we don't start controlling our spending now there will be no creamery.

Cheezme, that is what goes on in all big business/corporations. They do not care about the "little guy" who put forth blood, sweat and tears to make them what they are today...they only care about the Corporate Admins and keeping them warm, cozy and schooled. It is so easy for normal people to say what you said; cut the spending. But these big business guys just can't see the obvious. They are blind to the people who really make the difference and that is the people out there working in a shop, on a production line, running machines, packaging and so forth. It is a sad, sad world!


Justin: Why aren't our elected officials both city and state doing anything about this? Can't they see what it is doing to the community as a whole? It's turning into "us" and "them".

All I want is to have the spending looked at in hopes of saving just that one job! How can they spend, spend, spend in a recession and not feel the impact? You would think in the very least that they would put a hiring freeze on, limit travel, and stop sending the over paid managers to confernces and classes! Then if needed institute a company wide wage freeze.

Please Farmers, can't you see that Tillamook County as a whole is your customer
too? A customer that has supported you, stood by you and most of all did our own free marketing by telling our family and friend about your product?

Justin Aufdermauer

Just a reminder to those that are not turning your back on anyone...

We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people.
Martin Luther King, Jr.


Farmers: Once I again I am asking that you look at the blue roof spending!! Look at all positions from manager on up. Look at wages, benfits, relocation fees and bonuses. Lets not forget the highly paid contractors and consultants. Look at NAV and what it actually costs to keep this thing running. Look at each departments actual spending budget line by line. Look how much is being spent on downgraded cheese due to poor scheduling or inept forecasting. But most of all look at what costs can be cut instead of laying off workers who depend on a paycheck!

I was in Freddies yesterday looking at the actual cheese packaging. This is when
a member of the community came up to me expressed their displeasure at the way the creamery is being run. I agreed and showed this person the packaging. The difference between "proudly produced" and "proudly distributed".

Farmers: you do know what is happening here? A community turning's it back on

John Ponce

Reminder: Economists reckon job-loss impact by primary, then dependent secondary jobs. TCCA jobs lost is 50, with five secondary local community jobs dependent on each lost primary job, or 250. Total jobs being terminated in Tillamook = 300, give or take a few.....

We will delete inappropriate comments and personal attacks.


I guess the CEO's gag order did NOT work. This weekend I heard from a reliable INSIDE source that these layoffs were suppose to happen right before the Christmas holiday. After the holiday orders were met, but before the end of the year. The union has some sort of stipulation in the contract that a certain amount of time was needed. That is why it did not happen before Christmas but shortly after.

Merry Christmas from Tillamook Cheese!


Jobs lost maybe 45, hate to be hateful lots. this needs to stop you morons.


Terrible Tilly, about those THS teams: I used to think "Cheesemakers" was a hokey name, but no more. High school sports teams are named after really mean, nasty predators (the idea being to cast fear upon the opposing team)--Vikings, Pirates, Wolves, &c. These days, I think "Cheesemakers" fits right in.


I remember a flood many years ago and the community and state rallied around the farmers and Tillamook Cheese, because this was local, this was family. This was followed by the farmers appreciation being shown at the factory by scooping and giving out ice cream to say thanks......

My, my, how far we have come. Progress and survival is what the current management at TCCA would have you to believe. It is neither, it is greed plain and simple. People used to be proud to say they work at the cheese factory..... Now it is almost an embarassment to reveal.


Perhaps someone felt that some crossed the line and had in fact become TillamookTaliban. And freedom of speech does not/should not apply when the intent is to cause harm to children. How low can a person go?
Now back to the issue - finding more new and replacement jobs for the people of Tillamook. Family wage jobs.

honey badger

Looks like about 9 things are missing!!!!! Feels like the KKK.


Hate and bullying is such an interesting quality - it makes the weak and mindless feel powerful, in charge, but in fact shows what they really are.


A couple of things no one has addressed:

Harold Strunk has emphasized in both interviews that this is not 50 people let go, this is 50 positions. This is an important distinction, because word from Creamery employees is that the 50 positions include both day and swing shift, so a potential of 100 jobs lost. Harold Strunk threatened the employees with automatic termination for any employee found speaking to the media (Legal counsel threatened board members with sanctions if they spoke to farmers without permission). The word out there is that the Creamery is hoping to transfer or offer early retirement to approximately 20 people, so the net job loss will be somewhere around 80 people.

No one has asked about the “50 position” statement by Harold Strunk, and he should be forced to clarify the remark.


Nice to see the Official Explanation in print (even though much of it surfaced in the over 100 comments on the initial story). I understand this was a carefully thought out, sound business decision. That it was done either not thinking about the impacts or not caring about them just shouts "We're not local any more."


I wonder if it's time to change our high school's mascot from the Tillamook Cheesemakers to the Idaho Pack Rats.

I can't believe the TCCA board approved this change. Total sell outs. Way to support your companies hometown, especially in todays economy. Are you that out of touch? FIFTY MORE TILLAMOOK FAMILIES WILL HAVE NO JOB.

I don't think the rest of Oregon knows about this. It would be good to see on the TV news so the rest of the northwest can see. Teamsters Local 58 should throw up an informational picket and invite KOIN6, KGW8, KATU2 to hear the workers side of the story. I know for a fact that there would be 50 people available to come stand in front of Tillamook Cheese.

Fire the TCCA board, they forgot how to dairy.

(((Teamster Tillamook Cheesemakers, I'm so sorry that TCCA has gone totally corporate and subcontracted your jobs to a non-union, minimum wage, no-benefit, out of state company. What a sad chapter in Tillamook's story. )))


OK lets stop beating up the cheese factory for job losses, and talk about the real problem in Tillamook Co. The fact that Tillamook is so against any new businesses coming in, is the problem. 50 jobs could easily be absorbed, if businesses were allowed to locate here. Instead, in a misguided fear of "growth", they are chased away, as well as any opportunities for people to find employment. Unless they relocate...

Sven Johansen

I LOAF these lousy excuses in this story.......Now that they can see the entire County is in an uproar i guess the big cheeses decided they need to back peddle and come up with some great explanations. It really is no big shock, they are benefiting like everyone else by hiring cheep illegal immigrant labor to do every possible job that can be done without having to know english, to put more money in their own pockets.

John Ponce

Actually, we're witnessing a great deal of understanding of corporate machinations -- especially when a small-town, association-derived corporation abandons its roots and permeates its management with predatory outsiders. Then the "association" becomes as immune to caring as those denizens of Wall Street now mistrusted by so many. And, the opinion that the community expressing its disgust and anger at 50 lost family-wage jobs COULD imperil the remaining jobs in Tillamook sounds very much like a THREAT. Anyone espousing such should be looked at with suspicion....


What amazing insight and true understanding of corporations and how they function. What truly STUPID posts and comments. What a waste of time to argue with the mindless. Cheers


Let's try to move past the layoff and plan a strategy for encouraging new industry to locate in Tillamook. As I have indicated before, we need to bring a "best of breed" high tech company along with 500 - 1,000 jobs, many of which will go to qualified local residents. In addition, there will a multiplier effect which will benefit the entire community.
A task force comprised of the Tillamook mayor and the three county commissioners need to prepare a high quality visual presentation and take their show on the road. They need to pick the targets and find out what it would take for Tillamook to attract the companies and jobs. Much more would need to be done, but this would be a start and show that we have a commitment to create jobs on a meaningful basis.


MrNetarts has hit the nail squarely on the head. This is just the beginning of what is to come. This just didn't happen over night, but has been years in the making. I assume this is one reason the new CEO was appointed. I am sure that he is being paid quite well while dismantling our roots. It would have been nice to have this communicated at every step of the way so they 50 people could have planned for it better.

Do you think Bandon residents are having a long, hearty laugh at our expense?

What ever happened to TCCA's explanation as to why their cheese was so good:
The milk that goes into our cheese is from Tillamook county where there is very
little pollution, and the cows can feast on on grass that is always green.

I have heard that the TCCA oversees what businesses come into town, especially the ones who cut into their tourist trap. Is this true?

Ahhhhhhhhhh think of the cheese zoo this way:

One of those carnival barkers standing outside the visitor center (this of course will be a management position). The ones that wear top hats, big baggie pants, ugly vest and carries a cane. He will be shouting: Hurry, Hurry, Hurry...come see our packaging employees perform their magic on cheese from foreign lands. For an extra fee they will do tricks for you like juggling cheese, balancing cheese blocks on their heads and for the grand finale they will make the cheese disappear. Before you leave please remember to visit our gift shop so that you too can buy overpriced cheese from foreign lands to perform your very own magic tricks. Don't foget to pick up a trinket for the loved ones, after all you will be only paying a 50% mark up fee.
You might as well just leave all your money at the door for we will get it one way or another....

Sorry packaging people....I just feel so sorry for you!


I'm fine if they want to make it a national brand as well, just don't tell me that they're forced to do this so the "poor farmers" can survive in Tillamook County. If they want to build up this cheese empire and overtake brands like Kraft, don't say the "poor farmers" didn't want to make tough decisions like outsourcing the labor to cheaper places while devastating the local economy.

Right now half the cheese that is produced is done without these local farmers. If they expand across the country, the Tillamook dairy farmers will continue to contribute less and less milk to the total operation. They are nothing more than shareholders to a big corporation at this point.

And Ponce is right, all that Tillamook will eventually get stuck with is minimum wage jobs scooping ice cream for tourists that want to see where the cheese is made. Only, it will be for show, not actual production.


I have no problem with the TCCA developing a National Brand. However, the TCCA has shown that for a company of its size it is very inept at public relations. The TCCA could have very easily avoided much of the confusion, frustration and vitriol that we have witnessed during the past week by being more sensitive to the local reaction caused by the layoffs.

John Ponce

Ah, "The Cheese Zoo." Has a ring to it, doesn't it? It would indicate to the visitor that this is not a "real" cheese factory, but instead a "display," an "artificial environment." The real jobs environment for the brand's cheese will be elsewhere, distant, in a corporate-constructed environment. No primary jobs here, folks, no real manufacturing -- just lower-end secondary service jobs. What a future....


I don't think Tillamook has seen the end of the corporate mentality, and this is just the beginning if the CEO says Tillamook Cheese is what it is, not from the milk that comes from the area, but from the recipe itself. The TCCA is basically saying that the only way for the farmers to make ends meet is to push production so they can compete with Kraft and other major cheese producers, which is only possible if they start producing from other parts of the Country. I can't believe that I didn't know until recently the Tillamook plant produces only 50% of the total cheese that the Tillamook brand makes. We are about to witness that number in the coming years probably drop to maybe 5% of total production if they expand the way they want to.

I also find it very unsettling that the TCCA was willing to ship out all cheese to Wisconsin for many years just to be shredded and sliced. Then that slicing company was willing to build another plant in Idaho to better serve Tillamook Cheese because the TCCA gave them enough business, but the TCCA has never been willing to open their own facility in Oregon. They said it's because that's a huge investment, but I am sure if they approached the county and/or State, and said they'd be outsourcing jobs if they couldn't get some assistance, then something could have been worked out. That was never their mentality though, they have no intentions of keeping this local.

It will also be some time before we see what these 50 fewer jobs means to Tillamook. People are trying to downplay that it's not going to be 50 people total, but nothing I have heard make it sound like it's going to be anything less than 40 people total. That's a lot of families with healthcare that are getting shafted. The biggest impact though, is the loss of business for local truck drivers. With production being cut back to 40%, that's going to mean a lot fewer trucks on the road. That means few local repair shops getting business, local gas stations getting people to fill up, and fewer fuel taxes paid for the roads.

To all the citizens of this county that voted against the roads bond because you didn't want to hurt local businesses like the TCCA and farmers, well it didn't pass and they're still leaving. I am fed up with all of the sacrifices that have been made to accommodate this dairy farmers, and something needs to change. If they wanted to protect their family farms, then they should never have brought Boardman into the picture. But they got greedy, and this is what we get.

Peter Duncan

I'll bet because, something, sometime in the past that they did.... probably had it coming.


Good thing they still plan to run the production line through the weekends so that the customers can see they exist......like they are zoo animals or something.

honey badger

A thousand more words, same end result !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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