The last sawmill standing in Grant County will stand a while longer, thanks to a combined private and public effort to save it. People throughout Eastern Oregon should take note. In the fight to preserve a decent standard of living in rural communities, teamwork and determination can win out.
Back in August the Malheur Lumber Company, a mill in John Day employing 90 people, announced it would close Nov. 1 because it can’t get enough logs off nearby National Forests to continue operations.
The loss of those jobs would be a deadly blow to Grant County, where unemployment currently stands at 10.6 percent. Not only that, the loss of mill infrastructure would hamper future efforts to rehabilitate and restore area forests. Fortunately there are people in the region and in the nation’s capital who understand the mill’s importance and are willing to take action to save it.