By Jeff Barnard Associated Press
GRANTS PASS, Ore. — The governor has announced a $5 million funding package made up of tax credits and a state loan that will allow Josephine County’s last sawmill to reopen by converting to cutting small logs from forest thinning and ecological restoration projects.
Gov. John Kitzhaber said Friday in White City the funding helps maintain a healthy timber industry needed to protect forests.
The Rough &Ready Lumber Co. mill in O’Brien was cutting large pine logs when it closed for lack of logs last year, putting 88 people out of work.
Owner Link Phillippi says the upgraded mill will be more automated, employing 67 people, and processing about the same amount of timber.
Bettina von Hagen of Ecotrust says they have put together similar funding to keep other mills operating in Oregon.