It was about a year ago that the owners of Montesano’s Mary’s River Lumber mill on State Route 107 announced it would close. As a result, 38 people lost their jobs, the city lost revenue and the facility basically went idle.

In the case of mills, when they shut down, they don’t always open again. So residents logically saw the end of a Montesano mainstay. The mill had been in operation for more than 40 years.

It was in December last year, some nine months later, that dismay became fanfare as the city announced a pending deal with Fox Lumber, a Montana company, to revive the mill. The company had planned to hire back some 30 of the people who had lost their jobs when the mill closed in March 2016.

Now four months later, the mill is employing 29 people. Five are returning workers, who had, in some cases, moved on and found new positions with companies elsewhere.

Mill manager Terry Smith was the manager under the former company, and he had the unfortunate duty of notifying the former employees that they were being laid off. In the time since, Smith was kept on at the facility, working to keep the site from withering to the ensuing decay, like some would-be hero of a Harry Chapin narrative. When Fox River leased the property and bought the facility, they hired Smith, and he received the fortunate news that he would have the duty to hire employees back.

From The Daily World: