UPS will shift operations from Pendleton to Hermiston to save money, but a company spokesman claimed residents won't see any change in service.
During a phone interview Wednesday, Neil Secretraio said he wanted to reassure the community that Pendleton is not losing UPS.
"We're just serving the Pendleton area from Hermiston," he said.
Pendleton-area residents have been concerned about UPS pulling out of Pendleton after company officials confirmed the plan earlier this week. But Secretraio said Pendleton residents will continue to receive the same service they always have from UPS, which has operated in Pendleton since 1969, and customers won't lose options on air or ground service or delivery times.
"We're simply just making adjustments to our operation," he said.
Those adjustments will begin Nov. 2, when UPS closes its office on Westgate and sends nine drivers from Pendleton to work out of Hermiston. Secretraio said the company will keep three drivers in Pendleton. He stressed UPS won't lay off any drivers as result of the change, and the company fully understands the impact of the change to its employees.
"We don't want the community to be concerned about drivers losing their jobs," he said.
Secretraio said UPS bases its staffing on volume and the move will save the delivery company money. How much, though, he said he couldn't say.
Still, Secretario's reassurance may not be enough for everyone.
Tracy Bosen, Pendleton's economic development director, said there is a psychological factor of having a business in a community. Simply having UPS here, he said, is a visual presence that is far stronger than any reassurances over the telephone.
Bosen said UPS's change is indicative of the current economy that shows Pendleton still has a strong struggle ahead, but there are positive changes afoot. He pointed out that Kinro, which makes doors and windows for modular homes, will create 80 new jobs when it opens in Pendleton.
The East Oregonian has left multiple messages with Kinro, but so far no one from the company has returned calls.
Bosen emphasized Pendleton continues to draw attention from businesses, and there has been a significant uptick regionally in businesses looking to expand or move. A case in point, he said, was Keystone, which in August announced it was looking to hire a 100 workers and return to full capacity (Keystone hopes to hire 100, EO, Aug. 11).
Bosen said Pendleton's economy is improving and the outlook is brighter than some people may think.