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PORTLAND-Freightliner is planning more layoffs and a wind tunnel research lab as part of its plan to survive for the long term. With 1,850 layoffs under its belt and another 780 on the way, the Portland based truck maker will be at a public hearing Wednesday to argue the merits of a 2.2-acre wind tunnel research lab that would extend some 60 feet into Swan Island Lagoon.

The city’s development review office supports the plan in part because it helps the struggling local company continue to address future needs despite the current economic backslide. The project wouldn’t create many jobs but would help keep Freightliner trucks competitive, which is good for the company’s long-term success, say those in favor of the project.

A city land use hearing officer is recommending denial, however, because the projects seeks to build on the Willamette River Greenway and doing so would run afoul of state land use laws. The laws restrict greenway development if it takes away land available for river-dependent uses.

The project would be built on land owned by Freightliner but also on land owned by the Division of State lands. The area includes an inlet that includes other industrial uses that have piers into the lagoon. Freightliner says it would replace an existing retaining wall and revegetate the area with trees and shrubs.

A public hearing on the matter is scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 7, at City Hall. The building is located at 1221 S.W. Fourth Ave.

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