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Governor Kitzhaber Announces Help For Swanson Group To Rebuild Mill

Karen Richards

Governor John Kitzhaber visited Springfield today to tour the fire-devastated Swanson Mill and announced state help to rebuild it.

The plywood and veneer mill was destroyed last July in a massive fire, the cause of which is still unknown. The 33-acre site is now largely reduced to level concrete. Mayor Christine Lundberg says the blaze devastated the community:

Lundberg: “We lost not only an employer but we lost employees to the community so we’re enormously excited that Swanson has been able to see that this is the best site for them to rebuild.”

Swanson Group looked at locations around the state but chose to reinvest in Springfield. It will get help from several local and state entities. Governor Kitzhaber is offering $400,000 from a strategic reserve fund if Swanson meets certain job creation goals.

Company President Steve Swanson says they hope to employ about 190 people by the time the facility reopens in 2016.

Swanson: “We’ve had probably close to a hundred people call in the last week since our press release. A lot of them said they are working here locally but they’re ready to come back to work for us.”

Steve Swanson says construction will begin in mid to late summer.

Karen Richards joined KLCC as a volunteer reporter in 2012, and became a freelance reporter at the station in 2015. In addition to news reporting, she’s contributed to several feature series for the station, earning multiple awards for her reporting.
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