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Swanson Group Plans To Rebuild Plywood Mill By Mid 2016

Angela Kellner

Six months ago, a devastating fire completely destroyed a plywood mill in Springfield. Today (Thursday), Swanson Group announced their plans to rebuild.

Once the smoke cleared, investigators ruled a lot of things out but could find no definitive cause for the fire. In October, the insurance company wrote out a settlement check. Swanson Group President and CEO Steve Swanson says that’s when they began the process of deciding the best way to use the insurance money.   

Swanson: “We ultimately came back to the best opportunity for us and certainly what’s best for the employee group that was at Springfield is to rebuild there.”

Swanson says construction of the new mill will begin this summer on the old footprint. It will be a ‘state of the art’ plant that includes a high value plywood facility, focusing on overlays and non-traditional sizes.

Before the fire, 250 people worked at the Springfield mill. The company says the new facility will be more automated and need fewer employees—about 190. Swanson assumes most of the displaced workers have found other jobs.

Swanson: “When the time comes, we’ll make everybody aware that we are hiring. If those folks do want to come back to work for us and we ultimately re-hire them, they’ll be able to come back into our system with the same seniority rights they had at the time of the fire.”

Swanson Group expects construction to be completed by mid-2016.

Tiffany joined the KLCC News team in 2007. She studied journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia and has worked in a variety of media including television and daily print news. For KLCC, Tiffany reports on health care, social justice and local/regional news. She has won awards from Oregon Associated Press, PRNDI, and Education Writers Association.
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