Plum Creek to Restart Production at Evergreen Sawmill

By Beacon Staff

The Evergreen sawmill will restart production after sitting idle for almost four years, Plum Creek Timber Company announced Wednesday.

The lumber facility will operate one shift with 30 employees and could reopen April 1, a Plum Creek official said.

“While the recession took a toll on Plum Creek’s manufacturing business, lately we have witnessed a slow but steady improvement in the marketplace,” Tom Ray, Plum Creek’s vice president of northwest resources and manufacturing, said in a statement.

“As we reopen the facility, we are pleased to welcome the return of several employees who previously worked at the facility. Other positions will be filled by employees transferring from other company manufacturing plants.”

Ray said Plum Creek is recruiting replacements for several open positions. Prospective employees can inquire online or at LC Staffing in Kalispell.

“These are truly very good jobs to add back into the valley,” Ray said.

Thanks to an improving market, Plum Creek has already increased employment by 60 at other local facilities in the last year, like the Evergreen and Columbia Falls plywood plants, according to Ray.

Plum Creek announced in June 2009 that it was shutting down the Evergreen sawmill, leaving 63 employees out of work. The company cited a decrease in product demand at the stud sawmill and stud remanufacturing plant near Kalispell as the reason for closing its doors.

Plum Creek is one of the largest landowners in the U.S., with roughly 6.4 million acres of timberlands. In Montana, the company owns roughly 897,000 acres across the western half of the state.

The company reported in January that its fourth-quarter earnings rose 30 percent. Company shares rose 4.1 percent and the stock increased a total of 17 percent in 2012. Last year’s profits reached $79 million compared to $61 million in 2011. Revenues were up 12 percent to $354 million in 2012, surpassing the projected figure of $301 million.

“Over the past year, housing has moved from being a drag on the economy to being a bright spot,” President and Chief Executive Rick Holley said in a statement. “We are seeing improving demand for lumber and wood panels that is expected to translate into higher demand and pricing for logs in 2013.”

RELATED: Plum Creek’s Evergreen Plant to Close Indefinitely (from 2009)

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