Workers displaced by the disastrous fire on June 26 at Freres Lumber Co.’s Plant 4 are now back at work in their usual capacities in the veneer production facility in Lyons, Oregon. Freres crews and contractors worked at lightning speed and, in a remarkable four months’ time, brought the plant back online, producing its dry veneer used internally and sold all over the Pacific Northwest.
“After four months and a lot of hard work, we’re up and running again,” says Kyle Freres, Freres Lumber vice president of Operations. “It has not been without trial and tribulation, however. We had hoped to be online last month, but a large-scale electrical failure held us up. On November 2, the electrical problem was resolved, and we are now, thankfully, operating again.”
With the plant up and running, Freres Lumber is hiring additional workers. “Manpower is an issue at this point; some employees left after the fire. With the replacement of lighting lost in the fire, and the new interior paint, the work environment in the building is much improved,” notes Freres. Those interested in applying for jobs can contact Freres Lumber HR Manager Tim McCollister or visit https://frereslumber.com/careers/.
The High Plains/Midwest Ag Journal reported that the Senate Appropriations Committee released a fiscal year 2018 bill that addresses issues including the U.S. Forest Service firefighting budget, the Environmental Protection Agency, and certain threatened species.
In a summary of the bill, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran, R-MS, noted that the bill includes $5.8 billion for the U.S. Forest Service, including the full 10-year average for wildfire suppression costs as well increased funding for hazardous fuels reduction to help prevent catastrophic wildfires.
The bill also includes $3.6 billion to fight wildland fires, representing fire suppression funding at 100 percent of the 10-year average and emergency suppression funds made available if regular suppression funding is insufficient to cover the costs of fighting wildfires, a committee statement said.
After this year’s wildfire in Montana’s Lolo National Forest, Northwest Montana’s county commissioners want to see more timber salvaged.
The timber must be cut within the first year before weather and insect damage set in. To that end, the U.S. Forest Service is working hard to complete the assessments, environmental reviews, and public review processes required for area salvage operations to proceed.
In Lolo, the Western News reported that the agency has proposed salvage operations on almost 4,900 acres that were burned by the Sheep Gap and Sunrise Fires. Before the public comment period closed Dec. 1, the commissioners of Lincoln, Mineral, and Sanders County sent a letter to the Forest Service, asking that it “maximize the number of acres designated for restoration and salvage” — and arguing that the harvest proposed by the Forest Service could be doubled.
“We all kind of suffered the same plague,” said Lincoln County Commissioner Mark Peck. “The loss of revenue coming off the forests is bankrupting our counties, so we’re just trying to have a stronger voice. While we’re asking for more salvage, the Forest Service has done a tremendous effort of jumping on this.”
The first permits were issued for a Spokane Valley factory that will produce cross-laminated timber and glulam, engineered wood products for high-rise buildings and parking garages.
The California-based factory is expected to be 250,000 square feet and employ 150.
The Spokesman Review reported that according to permit data from the city of Spokane Valley, the total project cost is estimated to be $35 million. It is being built at 19202 E. Garland Lane on land owned by Centennial Properties, a subsidiary of Cowles Co., which publishes The Spokesman-Review.
In October, the speed of home buying increased by 6.2 percent, making it the third month in a row to record this kind of speed in the market and the best pace since 2007. Thanks goes to both the American economy and a growing shortage of homes, due to home pricing going up 13.6 percent this year.
The Real Deal reported there are about 10 percent fewer property listings for existing homes compared to October 2016, and according to the Los Angeles Times, this is the lowest number of listings for existing homes since 1999.
On the Cover
Photo taken by Andrea Watts of the Buck’s Logging operation.
Preparing for the Future and Adapting to the Times
With over 40 years in Southwest Washington, there aren’t many hills this family hasn’t logged.
Going Strong for Three Decades
Kurk Erickson came into the profession with his barn boots on.
New T-Winch Rocking the Steep Slopes
Recently delivered from Austria, EcoForst’s T-Winch is putting on a show across the steep slopes of Western Oregon’s Coast Range.
Taking Care of Your Rubber Track
Tips to help your company maintain and protect rubber track.
Firebreak Column — Mopping Up
Across the nation, more than 28,000 people were fighting wildfires at the peak. Now the nation deals with the aftermath.
Tech Review — Feller Bunchers
A review of the industry’s top feller bunchers.
Tooke to Take Charge