History
2:12 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Kenneth Ford Founds Roseburg Lumber Company in 1936

Episode 2346
 Founded in 1936 by Kenneth Ford, with old equipment and 25 men, the Roseburg Lumber Company was poised for rapid expansion when the demand for lumber exploded during the post-World War II housing boom. Since then it has grown into the largest family-held forest products company in the country. 

Ford moved to Oregon as a child from Washington State, and worked as a teenager with his father in the lumber business.  The Roseburg Lumber Company’s success has been attributed to Ford’s strategy of always "thinking 20 years into the future."  Anticipating the usefulness of plywood, Ford built many of Oregon’s first plywood plants.  As log prices rose Ford also focused his plants on getting the maximum out of each log, paving the way for many of the technologies used today. He built a boiler plant to turn what he couldn't use as lumber into energy.  His vision of continuing to buy forest land even during lumber slumps has allowed the company to outlive many of its competitors.  Today, the Ford Family Foundation has donated millions to schools and other organizations across the state. 

  Sources:  "Kenneth W. Ford." Roseburg Woodsman - Special Edition May 1997. Web. 18 Jan. 2014. Beckham, Stephen D. Land of the Umpqua: A History of Douglas County, Oregon. Roseburg, Oregon: Douglas County Commissioners, 1986. 

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