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Interfor laying off 130 workers at Gilchrist sawmill

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(Update: Adding recent curtailments at other mills)

B.C.-based corporation cites 'challenging' economy, COVID-19 difficulties

GILCHRIST, Ore. (KTVZ) – Vancouver, B.C.-based Interfor Corporation, one of the world’s largest lumber producers, will lay off 130 of its 150 Gilchrist mill workers, starting late next month, the company confirmed Thursday.

“Due to a challenging economic situation, coupled with the difficulties of COVID-19, Interfor is planning to curtail its Gilchrist Division and lay off approximately 130 employees,” Andrew Horahan, vice president for Western Operations, told NewsChannel 21 in a statement.

“Layoffs will begin in late June and will commence by department depending on workload,” Horahan added. “Though there is no recall date at this time, we will be reviewing conditions on an ongoing basis.”

“We know this is a difficult time for our employees, and curtailing the Gilchrist Division was not a decision we made lightly,” he added. “During this curtailment, we will communicate regularly with employees to make sure they have the most current information.”

The northern Klamath County sawmill, one of two Interfor operates in Oregon, produces high-value lumber with a focus on one-inch Ponderosa pine boards, Horahan said in a news report last year, adding the Gilchrist mill produces 75 million board feet per year.

Interfor Communications Manager Brenda Martin said the company also had "some recent temporary curtailments" at its three other millls in the Northwest, "but all three are running now and after this long weekend, they'll all be operating at full capacity."

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Barney Lerten

Barney is the digital content director for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Barney here.

Comments

7 Comments

  1. Just one of four(?) mills Interfore will shut down in Oregon and Washington. As I understand it they have or will be cutting every log in their inventory. It sounds like they are pulling out or getting into a position to pull out of the area soon.

  2. Interfor is not going anywhere. The company is shifting into cash saving mode until the world uncertainty of today becomes clearer. They’ve done the same at every mill they own as they did in Gilchrist. Planned upgrades to a couple of very successful mills in Georgia have been postponed, same as in Canada. Of the 340 million board feet of high-grade lumber milled in the Northwest (as reported)Gilchrist cut 75mbf.

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