Malheur Lumber to expand production at sawmill in John Day, Oregon, add up to 30 jobs; offical says launch of 10-year stewardship contract in Malheur National Forest is key factor in decision

LOS ANGELES , May 21, 2014 () – Malheur Lumber Co. is to increase production beyond one shift at its sawmill in John Day, Oregon, for the first time since 1998, adding 20-30 jobs, according to a May 20 report by the Chinook Observer.

Bruce Daucsavage, president of parent company Ochoco Lumber, said the launch of a 10-year stewardship contract in the Malheur National Forest had contributed to the decision, and had really enlivened opportunities for the company's future.

Daucsavage said the mill would not run a full second shift immediately, but would gradually ramp up production to ensure that high product quality was maintained.

Daucsavage said the expansion represented a turnaround from the "doldrums" of late 2012, when Malheur Lumber was on the verge of closing the sawmill due to a lack of timber from federal forests. The situation led local, state and federal officials to find a way to keep the only working sawmill in Grant and Harney counties operating.

Last fall, the Malheur National Forest awarded a 10-year stewardship contract to John Day-based Iron Triangle LLC. Malheur Lumber is one of Iron Triangle's community partners for the work, reported the Chinook Observer.

The contract is being carried out under a number of task orders, and Daucsavage said the second task order was expected to produce a substantial amount of pine. He added that the expectation of more work over a longer period had led the company to consider further investment in the mill and the company was adding a mill to process small-diameter logs.

The small log mill is not expected to be operational for another nine months, but Daucsavage said the company was taking the opportunity to begin hiring and training workers and would give first call to applications from candidates in Grant and Harney counties.

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden welcomed the news, saying he had pushed the U.S. Forest Service increase access to timber in the Malheur National Forest because he knew it would result in economic growth through the creatin of family-wage jobs in rural Oregon.

The primary source of this article is the Chinook Observer, John Day, Oregon, on May 20. The original article can be viewed here.

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