On February 6, 2020, Oregon suffered a catastrophic flood.
It swamped homes, created mass evacuations, washed out roads, forced the governor to declare a state of emergency. In the end, 16 people needed to be hospitalized, and one person died. The rising water from rivers and creeks closed about 200 miles of interstate 84 in Oregon.
Trapped in the middle of that natural disaster was Atkore’s Pendleton, Oregon plant that makes PVC pipe. The plant lost everything within just a few hours.
“My crew called me and said the water was coming up, and it was coming up fast. It was moving about a foot a second onto the property,” Larry Hughes, Pendleton Plant Manager said. “When I got here it was already 2 feet in the office, and it got up to what we measured at 49 inches in the office. And we knew then that we lost everything.”
“We knew it was catastrophic, we knew it was six months to a year of recovery,” Jeff Sherman, VP/GM of Plastic Pipe and Conduit added.
But within 72 hours of the flood, the plant was operational, although not at full speed. A little more than one year later, the rebuilt plant is producing more per production line than it used to, and Atkore added two new technologies, allowing the plant to make a wider array of products. As of today, Atkore’s Cellular Core Technology is back in full production at the Pendleton plant. And as a result of the rebuilding project, Atkore is using the new technology in all of its plants across the country.
Atkore created a video about the devastating flood, and what it did to return the plant to full capacity. You can see the whole video for yourself here.