Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber announced a $5 million finance package Friday that will allow a Southern Oregon county's last sawmill to re-open.
The Rough & Ready Sawmill in Cave Junction closed a year ago. It was Josephine County's last operating mill. The sawmill will now be able to open with upgraded equipment thanks to a combination of tax credits and a state loan. At a press conference in White City, owner Link Phillipi said he expects the mill will be able to hire more than 60 people.
"The overall effect is even greater than it appears. In addition to the 67 direct jobs, hundreds more will be created for logging contractors, truckers and suppliers, and for the community businesses we all patronize," he said.
Phillipi and his wife, Rough & Ready co-owner Jennifer Phillipi, plan to convert their mill so it can cut small logs from forest thinning and ecological restoration projects.
Rough & Ready Lumber was cutting large logs when it closed for lack of timber last year, putting 88 people out of work.
The Portland-based nonprofit Ecotrust helped secure the federal and state financing for the mill to reopen. Bettina von Hagen of Ecotrust says her organization has put together similar funding to keep other mills operating in Oregon.
This was first reported by Jefferson Public Radio.