Evergreen Files Chapter 7

Jan. 01--McMinnville-based Evergreen International Airlines took a large step toward dissolving itself Tuesday by filing a Chapter 7 petition in federal bankruptcy court in Delaware. The filing followed by about two weeks an involuntary petition by a group of creditors.

The filing estimated the total assets of the Evergreen companies at up to $100 million and total debts up to $500 million. Evergreen said it has up to 5,000 creditors. The filing includes a 108-page list of creditors.

A former Evergreen employee relayed a Dec. 31 email from Evergreen's director of human relations that noted that a trustee will handle all human relations and public relations functions. The director, Monique Gregory, did not identify a trustee and the bankruptcy file lists no information beyond the company's voluntary petition:

To: all employees

Unfortunately, there is NO Cobra options available. Please visit www.coveroregon.com or the website that is specific to your state health insurance. This will give you options for health coverage.

The 401k is managed by Heintzberger / Payne and you may reach them at 1-888-937-4015.

As of today, the HR and PR department will be handled by the trustee.

Monique Gregory

Evergreen officials and lawyers did not respond to phone and email queries on the holiday. Evergreen's website still contains a Nov. 8 note from founder Delford Smith that insisted the company would continue to serve its customers. He said much the same in an interview with The Oregonian less than two weeks ago.

The bankruptcy filing lists seven entities as submitting the Chapter 7 petition: Evergreen Aviation Ground Logistics Enterprise; Evergreen Defense and Security Services; Evergreen International Airlines; Evergreen International Aviation; Evergreen Systems Logistics; Evergreen Trade; and Supertanker Services.

The filing appears to mark the end for a proud company with a history of providing cargo and passenger services to the U.S. government and other customers. Smith founded the company as Evergreen Helicopters in 1960. Last year, Evergreen sold the helicopter company to Portland's Erickson Air-Crane for $250 million in cash and notes. Smith said later that money would be used to pay down debt.

Still unsettled is the fate of Evergreen's non-profit affiliates, the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum and the Wings and Waves Waterpark. The buildings are landmarks along Oregon Highway 18 on the eastern edge of McMinnville. The state Department of Justice has been investigating whether Evergreen's for-profit operations improperly commingled funds with the non-profits.

Copyright 2014 - The Oregonian, Portland, Ore.

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