Portland Oregon US based Columbia Steel Casting plans to shut down operations at its north Portland foundry and lay off most of its workforce. The company said 225 employees, many represented by three different unions, would be laid off beginning in October. The closure would be permanent, though the company is in talks with various companies about buying the foundry and maintaining operations. Columbia Steel Casting CEO Ms Martha Cox wrote to employees that “The company has faced fierce competition from overseas competitors, some of them subsidized by their governments. State and local environmental regulations had also put the company at a disadvantage to those competitors.”Ms Cox also wrote “The fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic had exacerbated the company’s issues, with hang-ups in the global supply chain disrupting shipments to a key customer and travel restrictions putting a damper on sales. The company also struggled to hire and retain employees, even after substantial pay raises.”She said in an email that production would cease by the end of the year, and a small number of employees would remain to wind down operations.Columbia Steel was founded in 1901 and claims to be the first steel foundry in the Northwest. It manufactured industrial parts, specializing in high-wear components that need to be replaced from time to time because of grinding, impact or heat. The company today operates out of an 87-acre campus at North Bloss Avenue in Portland, just south of the Columbia Slough. The company has been owned and operated for generations by the descendants of Mr Hobart M Bird, who started as a foundry worker for the company. Ms Cox is his granddaughter.Columbia Steel manufactures a wide variety of steel and iron parts for basic industry. These are replacement parts for high-wear applications, such as those that take abuse from abrasion, impact, or heat in rock crushers, grinding mills, mine shovels and draglines, electric power plants, cement plants, and metal and waste recycling shredders.