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CULVER, OR-Seaswirl Boats, by far this city’s largest employer, is shut down indefinitely while its struggling parent company, Outboard Marine Corp., finds a buyer for its most profitable division. Outboard Marine filed for voluntary reorganization last week under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Chicago, Ill.

The move protects the company from creditors while it searches for a solution to its financial woes, including the sale of some assets. Additionally, however, the move shutters a 245,000-sf boat-building plant that employed 260 in a town of 883, making it vital not only to its employees, but also to the towns restaurants and coffee shops.

According to the company, Seaswirl is the most profitable division of OMC and several companies are looking at a possible purchase. It is not yet giving up the names of potential buyers, however. Seaswirl moved to Culver from Canby in 1972. It was sold to OMC by Bob Trent in 1987. The manufacturing facility is on five acres in Culver’s industrial park. It builds between 2,000 and 3,500 recreational fishing boats each year.

The region is already suffering from job cuts at Warm Springs Forest Products Industries lumber mill and the Bright Wood Corp. wood products company. According to the Oregon Employment Departments, Jefferson County’s unemployment rate rose 0.9 percent from October to November. It now stands at 5.7%.

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