Laid-off Warm Springs Forest Products employees will be called back to work early next year after equipment and facility improvements are completed, a company official said last week.
State officials said Tuesday that the central Oregon lumber mill, part of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs economy for 45 years, will lay off 93 full-time employees in mid-November. The mill has been leased since 2008 by Vanport International Inc., headquartered in Boring, which specializes in manufacturing lumber for international markets.
Vanport President Paul Owen said Wednesday that the layoffs are temporary, and are necessary because the mill has already processed its allotted amount of tribal-land timber for the year — 38 million board feet. During the layoff period, the tribe will begin a $4.6 million upgrade of the mill’s biomass system, which uses wood waste to produce electricity to power the plant. Some laid-off employees will be called back to work on that project, Owen said.
Logging will resume in late December, Owen said, and lumber production should begin in February. He said the sawmill has been “very successful” and described the crew as highly productive.