SALEM — An employee of Norpac Foods Inc., a food processing cooperative, was found dead in a plant parking lot early Wednesday morning. Salem police are investigating the death as a homicide.
The victim, a man whose name has not yet been released, was a medium- to long-term employee of Norpac, not a seasonal worker, company spokeswoman Amy Wood said. His body was discovered in the parking lot of Plant 7 by another employee arriving for work at about 6 a.m. The victim worked in Plant 7, a seasonal vegetable processing facility that is largely in maintenance phase this time of year, Wood said.
The cause of death has not been released. Employees of the plant were sent home for the day, and the company will make grief counselors available, Wood said. The company anticipates the plant will reopen Thursday.
In a prepared statement, Norpac said it is “deeply saddened and shocked by the apparent homicide of one of our longtime employees. Our thoughts and ongoing support are with this employee’s family and close colleagues. NORPAC management is working closely with Salem police to provide them with full access to any information they need to investigate and solve this crime.”
NORPAC Foods is a farmer-owned cooperative that processes vegetables and fruit grown by 240 farmer-members on about 45,000 acres. The company produces about 600 million pounds of frozen and canned products under labels such as Flav-R-Pac, Santiam and Westpac. The company employs up to 3,500 people during harvest season and has about 1,000 full-time employees.