Thursday, April 18 2013, 12:15 PM CDT
Lumber mill will silence its saw
CAVE JUNCTION, Ore. -- Rough & Ready Lumber is closing its Cave Junction lumber mill.
The mill employs 85 people. Employees will receive severance pay based on their years of service. The company will help workers find new jobs.
The company made the announcement on Wednesday.
Rough & Ready has been in the Illinois Valley for 90 years, according to a press release from the company. It is owned by the Phillippi and Krauss families.
It is the last sawmill to close. In 1975 there were at least 22 sawmills in Jackson and Josephine counties. By 2003, the number fell to six. Over the last few years, Rough & Ready was the lone sawmill.
Company officials say they could not secure enough logs to remain competitive. The sawmill got its timber from surrounding federal forests.
Rough & Ready had been slated to begin a $2 million sawmill project in 2014.
"But we can't justify the cost with an inadequate, unpredictable log supply supporting only one shift," company CEO Jennifer Phillippi said in the press release. "It's like setting in a grocery store not begin able to eat while the produce rots around you."
The Rough & Ready Lumber mill is near forestland owned mostly by the federal government. Company officials say over the last 20 years, they have not had access to federal timber.
The 2.7 million acres grow about 1 billion board feet of wood per year.
"While half of that growth was harvested historically, now only 7 percent of annual forest growth is available to harvest," the press release said. "R & R annually consumes 25 million board feet without relying on old growth, while the surrounding unmanaged forest becomes increasingly fire prone and diseased -- despite plan after plan to address the ecological and economic problems this creates."
While the sawmill is closing, the Phillippi and Krauss families will continue managing the Perpetua Forest Company that owns private forestland. They will sell timber to other mills.