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Gilchrist mill's new owner upbeat
By LEE JUILLERAT , Herald and News
GILCHRIST - Its name has changed, but the faces are
Interfor took over
ownership of the Gilchrist mill along with the
Klamath Northern Railway Co. in September.
state-of-the-art facility," said John Straw, the
The acquisition was
part of a larger takeover of Crown Pacific companies
that included mills in Port Angeles and Marysville,
Wash. Total cost for the combined holdings was $57.3
million, plus a working capital of $16 million. The
new mills have a combined annual capacity of 335
million board feet.
The company owns no
forest lands, so it buys from private timberlands
and federal timber sales.
"You couldn't have
asked for a better transition," agrees Ernst, noting
the mill was down for only three hours.
eased the transition by holding a pizza party for
employees - and surprising them by announcing that
all would receive $500 bonuses.
With an annual payroll
of $6 million, the mill is northern Klamath County's
major employer. Gilchrist has about 500 residents
while Crescent has more than 1,000. Most of the
area's services were created to support the mill and
the town of Gilchrist, which until the 1990s was
owned and managed by the lumber company.
Crombie said Interfor
officials are pleased to own the Gilchrist mill and
railroad, which ships more than three-quarters of
mill products to Diamond Lake Junction, where
products are transferred to the Union Pacific
Railroad for shipment around the U.S. Within Klamath
County, Collins Products often buys chips and
shavings while some lumber goes to Jeld-Wen plants.
"We are definitely
interested in continuing to upgrade the operations,"
Crombie said, noting a new $1.2 million dry kiln is
being built at Gilchrist.
"We believed we would
be successful in buying fiber on the open market,"
Crombie said. And, because of the 2001 upgrade,
"It's a relatively new mill. The mill is very clean
and tidy. It just kind of hums along."
Interfor began in the
1930s with a sawmill at Whonnock near Vancouver,
British Columbia. The company, then named Whonnock
Industries, expanded by buying manufacturing plants
and timber resources, mostly along the British
Columia coastal region. In 1971, the company bought
a sawmill in the interior, near Kamloops.
In 1988, the company
changed its name from Whonnock Industries to
International Forest Products, and adopted the
trademark "INTERFOR." Acquisitions continued in the
1990s for cutting rights, sawmills, planer mills and
numerous logging operations.
Since 1970, Interfor
has increased its annual lumber production capacity
from about 65 million board feet to 750 million
board feet and increased its annual timber harvest
from about 300,000 cubic meters to more than 3.6
million cubic meters. Interfor reached an agreement
with Crown Pacific July 9, 2004, to acquire mills in
Gilchrist, and in Port Angeles and Marysville,
Wash., for $57.3 million plus working capital at $16
million. The three sawmills are operated under the
name Interfor Pacific, a United States division of
Interfor. Interfor took over ownership of the mills
Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:14 AM Pacific
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