Following an earlier announcement, Interfor began laying off 130 of 150 employees at its Gilchrist, Ore. sawmill in late June 2020. Company officials cited difficulties with the coronavirus issue and overall market conditions as reasons for the layoffs. The announcement doesn’t bode well for the mill’s future: Interfor operates three other mills in the Pacific Northwest that suffered curtailments during the worst of the pandemic slowdown but have since returned to full capacity. Interfor officials noted there was no employee recall date associated with the Gilchrist announcement and operating conditions there will be reviewed “on an ongoing basis.” The mill produces 75MMBF annually of mostly high-grade 1 in. pine boards.
The facility is a legendary mill operation in the state, founded by the sawmilling Gilchrist family of Laurel, Miss., who moved to Oregon in the 1930s and established the town of Gilchrist. They started the sawmill in 1939, creating a fully-owned company town. The family was noted for its benevolence toward workers, and the town included parks, a theater and the first enclosed shopping mall west of the Mississippi, with homes that would “pass the scrutiny of the workers’ wives,” according to a historical account. The Gilchrist family sold the mill and town to Crown Pacific in 1991, and after Crown went bankrupt and closed the mill in 2003, Interfor acquired and revived it in 2006.
Article by Jessica Johnson, Senior Editor, Timber Processing January/February 2024
Some of the smartest men and women in the industry have graced the pages of this magazine—and have won the award of Timber Processing Person of the Year. They’ve all been incredibly worthy of this recognition for innovation, commitment and love of the industry they serve. Perhaps none have been quite as innovative as the introverted sawmiller from Georgia named Levi Anderson Pollard, V, whose name is on two of the patents that changed the way the sawmilling world manufactures and dries lumber (and on so many other patents as well).
Walter Jarck, whose career in the forest products industry spanned 65 years and ranged from logging machinery to engineered wood products, died January 3, surrounded by his children, in North Wilkesboro, NC. He was 92.
Carbotech Group has acquired Sawquip, a manufacturing company specializing in the design and manufacture of sawmill equipment for the primary and secondary breakdown of logs into lumber. This acquisition allows Carbotech Group to add on a new field of expertise, providing customers with innovative new solutions for lumber production. Sawquip’s innovative products include log turners and optimized log infeeds, chipping canters, twin and quad circular saw modules, as well as optimized gangs for controlled shape sawing, among others.
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