Small Town News


Good news: New mill on schedule

Shelton-Mason County Journal of Shelton, Washington

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When news came out in April that Simpson Lumber Co. would sell its two Shelton mills to Sierra Pacific, many community members panicked.

The numbers were ugly — 270 employees would lose their jobs. An already economically depressed region was getting worse.

It's been tough for workers trying to find new jobs. Some have. Others have not.

When we first reported on the sale, Sierra Pacific's director of corporate affairs and sustainability told us that "it's gonna get better. We're looking forward to being a part of this community."

The community responded to that comment, as well as Sierra Pacific's touted plan to build a new, state-of-the art mill by 2017, with skepticism. We were among those who doubted whether the company's plan was possible, or whether they were paying lip service to our community.

Nearly six months later, the plan is taking shape.

At a community meeting last week, Sierra Pacific Environmental Affairs Director Tony Jaegel told about 80 attendees that the company is still on pace to open a new mill by mid-2017. It could even break ground as early as January.

In addition to a timeline, Sierra Pacific gave specific details about its renovations. It plans to leave less of an industrial footprint with its construction, and is working closely with city officials to meet regulations and mitigate environmental concerns. A panel of individuals representing the state Department of Ecology, the Olympic Regional Clean Air Agency and other entities are all involved in the extensive project.

While this is great news for job seekers who have been unable to find work after being let go, it also appears to be great news for the business community and environmental groups.

We're glad that Sierra Pacific seems to be working with our leaders and making progress toward finishing the mill they promised.

We hope that this light at the end of the tunnel continues to grow brighter in Shelton and throughout Mason County.

Copyright 2015 Shelton-Mason County Journal, Shelton, Washington. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: October 22, 2015

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