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New focus on PPE production in East Multnomah County comes during global spike in COVID cases

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden spoke during the opening of Greshams D6 Inc.s new medical production facility. A local manufacturing company known for crafting recycled containers has now become a leader in producing personal protective equipment as COVID-19 cases spike around the globe.

D6 Inc., a Gresham company, hosted a ribbon cutting Wednesday morning, Oct. 28, to celebrate the opening of its new medical division, which will make N95 masks and face shields. The pivot in focus for the business, which was decided eight months ago at the onset of the pandemic, makes D6 one of just five domestic manufacturers of N95 masks.

"I really wish you could see this smile behind my mask," said Ed Dominion, president of D6, who heaped praise upon his employees during the gathering.

Joining the company in celebration were U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, who helped clear FDA red tape to streamline the transition for D6.

"This morning all across America people woke up to see the virus spiking," Wyden said. "Here is an Oregon company actually doing something about it."

Both elected Democrats spoke about the poor response to the pandemic by the Federal government, and how timely this expansion is as COVID-19 cases continue to skyrocket in Oregon and across the country.

"A good face mask gives you peace of mind," Merkley said. "This is symbolic of us all coming together to say we are going to beat this disease."

Normally D6 Inc., at 4630 N.E. 190th Lane, takes discarded materials like clamshells and water bottles and upcycles them to create new products. The company washes, cleans, and creates moldable material they then use to craft food packaging, 3D models and prototypes that are sold through business partners including Walmart, Kroger, PepsiCo and Nike.

But in March, as the world was being rocked by a global pandemic, D6 leadership and employees all rallied around the idea of taking on the challenge of manufacturing protective equipment head-on. Part of that decision was spurred by the fact that in the spring, almost all PPE were being imported from other countries.

"We are here because D6 and (Ed Dominion) showed vintage Oregon ingenuity," Wyden said.

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