From the Grants Pass (Oregon) Daily Courier.
Anyone know about Rough & Ready Lumber? Is the lack of logs the only factor?
Rough & Ready Lumber closes, lays off 85 workers
CAVE JUNCTION — Rough & Ready Lumber Company announced Wednesday the closure of its lumber mill, a major local employer that recently celebrated its 90th year in business in the Illinois Valley. The business will lay off 85 employees.
In a news release issued Wednesday afternoon, company officials said the decision is the result of the mill’s inability to secure a sufficient supply of logs from the surrounding federal forests.
“We deeply regret having to close the family lumber business that my grandparents founded in 1922,” said Jennifer Phillippi, CEO and co-owner of Rough & Ready.
Link and Jennifer Phillippi and Joe Krauss are the third-generation of family members to operate the mill. Many employees are third-generation, too. Rough & Ready is known for producing high-quality wood products that are used in doors, windows and exposed beams.
Over the years the family continued Rough & Ready’s tradition of reinvesting in the community, including a $6 million biomass cogeneration facility in 2007, Forest Stewardship Council green certification for sustainably produced wood products, and an investment in the region’s first small log mill, according to the company’s news release. Rough & Ready was poised to begin a new $2 million sawmill project in 2014.
“But, we can’t justify the cost with an inadequate, unpredictable log supply supporting only one shift,” Phillippi said. “It’s like sitting in a grocery store not being able to eat while the produce rots around you.”
Once a thriving wood products region, Josephine and Jackson counties in 1975 were home to 22 sawmills, according to the news release. By 2003 six remained, and for the last several years R & R has been the lone sawmill operating in Josephine County.
The company has worked closely with federal and state policy makers since the early 1990s on solutions to the stalemate over federal timber harvests, and the creative ideas and leadership coming from Gov. Kitzhaber and Oregon congressional Reps. Peter DeFazio, Greg Walden and Kurt Schrader have been encouraging, Phillippi said.
“The outlook seemed especially hopeful,” said Phillippi, “when Senator Wyden was appointed chair of the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee, but we are disappointed that little has changed. The status quo just isn’t enough to sustain us, even with an improving economy and our customers begging for more of what our employees are so good at making.”
Rough & Ready announced that it would provide mill employees with severance pay and assistance in finding new jobs.