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Gresham tech plant poised to hire more temps

Multnomah County commissioners on Thursday will consider amending a 2009 tax-break agreement with Microchip Technology that could enable the Arizona-based company to add more temporary workers at its Gresham plant.

Microchip, which makes semiconductors and microcontrollers, gets a large property tax break under the state’s Strategic Investment Program. Under terms of the deal, it’s obligated to increase its employment each year through 2018. The contract prohibits the company from filling positions with temps for longer than six months, unless they’re needed to cover leaves of absence for full-time employees.

Microchip has asked the county for permission to lift the restriction so it can meet sudden increases in demand.

Under terms of an amendment that goes before county commissioners on Thursday, Microchip could add temps for longer than six months as long as it exceeds its other requirements for fulltime jobs at the plant by more than 5 percent. The number of temps would be capped at 10 percent of its Gresham work force.

Microchip is obliged to have 385 fulltime employees this year, gradually rising to 500 within five years.