Timber is back at Rough & Ready Lumber Co. “It’s exciting to see those old faces and we walk out there and see everybody greeting each other.” Jennifer Phillippi is the owner of the Cave Junction sawmill that’s been around since the 1900’s, excited to re-open after closing down April 2013 when they shut down because of uncertain timber supplies.
“We weren’t able to make capitol improvements in the mill because there wasn’t that certainty to be able to justify making millions of dollars in investments,” said Phillippi.
Last fall congress passed a bill that divides timber land between conservationists and logging. And now another bill would let the federal government manage those lands. Phillippi is watching those bills closely because it might mean even less timber.
But now Rough & Ready is back open thanks to a loan as well as federal and state tax credits, allowing them to invest nearly 6 million dollars to re-vamp some of the mill. “The wood will be cut quicker and more accurately. We have a re-saw, a gang edger that’s high speed, we have a trimmer-stacker sorter that’s an upgrade for us.” Upgrades Phillippi hopes will help them stay in business for another 100 years.
Phillippi also said they’ve been able to bring back 40 of their employees and hope to have a total of 70 when they start making sales next month. She’s also hoping the two bills are resolved so they compliment each other.