Editor’s Note: Eric Florip, a writer for The East Oregonian, Pendleton, Ore., filed this entry that ran in the newspaper’s edition on Saturday (Dec. 12) under the heading “Frozen in Time.”
This past week, I sat down with two representatives of Keystone RV Co., which recently started the process of expanding its Pendleton operation to occupy the former Fleetwood Travel Trailers of Oregon building — abandoned since it shut down last spring.
But the most telling part of that day came before I met either. I arrived with former East Oregonian editor Mike Forrester, not knowing where to meet our appointment in the sprawling complex. That gave me a chance to explore the office a bit.
What I saw was downright eerie. The building resembled a ghost town, left completely intact. It was like the 253 employees who lost their jobs simply dropped everything, walked out the door and didn’t look back.
Computers still sat on desks. Pictures and posters remained on walls. Two front lobby phones, still connected, displayed a combined 600 unanswered messages.
I also noticed a day planner on the lobby desk, still turned to Tuesday, April 7, 2009.
It made for a rather poignant scene.
If you’re a Pendleton resident, you have to be glad to see that sordid snapshot finally change this week. Keystone employees began cleaning out the facility, and hope to hire 50-80 workers to launch a new line next year.
Most people will tell you the recession —or at least its lingering effect —is far from over. But in some ways, things are turning around.
Here’s to hoping that trend continues.