Luhr Jensen goes Finnish with merger

June 4, 2005

Phil Jensen, owner of Luhr-Jensen and Sons, announced Friday that his company will merge with a Finnish company, a move he said will enhance the fishing equipment manufacturer’s global distribution abilities.

Jensen said his firm will join with Rapala/VMC, a Helsinki-based company that makes a similar line of fishing lures and other products. Rapala/VMC has sales offices in 27 countries and manufacturing operations in Finland, Estonia, Ireland, France and China.

“This decision is based upon two very straightforward considerations: My time in life and my vision of the future of our industry,” said Jensen, 69, who has been with the company since he graduated from college in 1960. His father, Luhr Jensen Sr., founded the firm in 1932. The agreement involves exchange of company stock, and sale of some tools and inventory; the building and property remain Jensen’s property and he will serve on the board of directors of Rapala/VMC. (The merger does not effect Luhr Jensen’s smoker manufacturing operation in Oak Grove.)

The merger is in what is known as the “due diligence” phase, meaning the two parties are clarifying specifics of the agreement, which Jensen said he hopes will be finalized by mid-July.

Sales offices and certain manufacturing functions will remain in Hood River, Jensen said. Company operations won’t change in the immediate future, he said. Luhr Jensen anticipates a two-year transition period for certain manufacturing functions, according to Jensen. Jensen said Rapala’s distribution strategies, combined with his company’s knowledge of the industry — particularly in the western United States and Alaska — will bode well for the company.

“This satisfies my dream for the company heritage and for the future of the family name,” he said. “(Rapala) is a wonderful organization. I feel privileged.”

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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