Lonnie Rollins, Larry Mason and Lonnie Adams wore big smiles last week as they chatted with Rough & Ready Lumber owner Jennifer Phillippi. The three men with 75 years of combined experience at the mill were rehired in the past few months, after the entire workforce of 87 was laid off a year ago when the mill shut down.

Rough & Ready was Josephine County’s last large sawmill and Cave Junction’s second-largest employer after Taylor’s Sausage, which tried to hire some of those who lost their jobs.

The Phillippi family blamed erratic and insufficient timber harvests on federal land as the major factor in the mill closure.

Now the mill is set to spring to life again in early July, thanks to a $1 million Business Oregon loan and $4 million in state and federal tax credits that will pay for upgrading the small-log mill to handle logs as small as 6 inches in diameter.

Jennifer Phillippi and her business partner husband, Link Phillippi, said most of the 66 people who will be hired by July are former employees. Rollins, Mason and Adams are among a small group already hired back to help with the upgrades. The new workforce is smaller because of ever-increasing automation.

From The Register-Guard: http://registerguard.com/rg/news/local/31634157-75/mill-phillippi-ready-cave-junction.html.csp#