Oregon firm buys Gunderson Marine, preserves jobs


(LAKE OSWEGO, Ore.) — The Greenbrier Companies on Tuesday announced the completed sale of its Gunderson Marine operations to Oregon Green Manufacturing (OGM). Gunderson Marine operates within a 58-acre industrial waterfront site in Portland, Ore., which OGM has acquired. The acquisition by OGM preserves approximately 300 family-wage jobs at Gunderson.

OGM is a manufacturing business recently formed by two established, experienced Oregon manufacturers and businesspeople, Terrence “Terry” Aarnio and Marvin “Dee” Burch. Aarnio was the chairman and majority owner of Oregon Iron Works until its acquisition by Vigor Industrial in 2014. Burch is the president of Advanced American Construction.

OGM plans to continue operations at Gunderson Marine, the vessel fabrication business that Greenbrier resumed on Front Avenue in Northwest Portland in 1995. Vessel building had previously occurred on the site from 1947 to 1985. Operating from the largest side launchways on the West Coast, Gunderson Marine is accessible year-round for oceangoing vessels. The location has a history of over 100 years, starting as a steel fabricator before transitioning to freight railcar and marine barge manufacturing.

The parties entered a non-competition agreement regarding Greenbrier’s core business of freight railcar-related products and services but otherwise did not disclose the terms of the transaction. Greenbrier previously announced the cessation of railcar manufacturing activity at the facility.

Gunderson Marine photo

“The transition of Gunderson Marine and the Front Avenue site leaves us encouraged but also with a heavy heart,” said Lorie Tekorius, Greenbrier’s chief executive officer and president. “Greenbrier was founded in Oregon and remains an Oregon-headquartered company with operations now on three continents. We have been a steward of the Gunderson location since entering railcar manufacturing in 1985. The facility holds a special place in the life of Portland and Oregon. Ensuring the continued employment of our dedicated workforce was a priority in selecting a buyer for Gunderson Marine. We know Terry, Dee and their team share Greenbrier’s community and people-first mindset, which will be a principal focus as OGM moves forward.”

“We are proud of Gunderson Marine’s history and performance and are well-positioned to grow the marine business,” Aarnio said. “We look forward to making investments in product development and infrastructure enhancements. Greenbrier and OGM share the same vision. We value innovation, customer service and delivery of high-quality products.”

Burch added, “Terry and I expect to expand and diversify our operations on Front Avenue. We have decades of combined experience in the industrial space, including manufacturing, construction and technology. The facility is a premier location for a range of energy efficiency and infrastructure fabrication projects supported by recently enacted federal funding which we will actively pursue. Gunderson Marine provides us with a foundation of great products, an advanced manufacturing facility and a talented team. The strength of Gunderson Marine is the professionalism and quality of the workforce and the culture that Greenbrier instilled. The potential to build on the barge business and add other business lines is unmatched at any manufacturing facility on the west coast.”

About Oregon Green Manufacturing

Oregon Green Manufacturing is a new industrial manufacturing venture. It was formed to operate an industrial marine vessel fabrication business and launch new manufacturing ventures within the industrial sanctuary of the Portland Harbor in northwest Portland.

– The Greenbrier Companies

By Rich Miller