Kärcher to close Camas facility

Company to move to Colorado next year, affecting nearly 200 workers

A local manufacturer of hot and cold water pressure washers, parts washers and water treatment systems that has been in Camas for 20 years will relocate to Denver, Colorado in 2019, affecting approximately 200 employees in Camas.

Kärcher North America is one of the largest subsidiaries of the international Kärcher Group, and has more than 1,150 employees in seven locations, including a headquarters in Denver and four manufacturing facilities.

The company currently leases a 200,000-square-foot building at 4275 N.W. Pacific Rim Blvd., Camas. That facility is scheduled to close in 2019.

“The final date for closing has not yet been determined, but the relocation of our production will start around August 2019 and take several months for completion,” Kris Cannon-Schmitt, a spokeswoman for Kärcher North America, Inc., in the Denver office, said.

She said the company is investing in a new, Kärcher-designed and owned facility in Colorado.

“In order to remain competitive in the U.S. and global markets, Kärcher needs to advance our manufacturing capabilities,” Cannon-Schmitt said. “These competitive pressures, as well as our own growth projections, require the need to modernize and optimize our manufacturing operation. A new facility allows Kärcher the opportunity to optimize our work flows and processes.”

She added that the Camas facility will not see any production slowdowns over the next year.

“We have not had any workforce reductions,” Cannon-Schmitt said. “Kärcher wanted to give our employees as much notice as possible and communicate fully our plans. Business should continue as usual for the next 12 to 15 months.”

She said it is not yet known how many of the Camas employees will relocate to the Kärcher Region North America headquarters in Denver.

“We have given our employees until early next year to review their options, discuss with their families and make a decision,” Cannon-Schmitt said, adding that the employees who are not able to relocate to Denver will be provided severance and outplacement support.

Camas Mayor Scott Higgins said Kärcher North America has been a great part of the community and he’ll be sorry to see them go.

Reflecting on how the business world changes rapidly, Higgins referred to the reduction in workforce at the Georgia Pacific paper mill in Camas and the future construction of the Holland Partner Group’s mixed-use development on Camas’ western boundary with the city of Vancouver.

“The landscape is ever changing,” Higgins said. “As a community, we want to be supportive of existing businesses, but also recognize as the global business needs change, we have to be receptive to new businesses that come in.”

Higgins added that he is sad for the local Kärcher North America workers and their families who are affected by the company’s future relocation to Denver.

“That will be a big change for them,” he said. “I hope they can stay in Camas and find other employment.”