Governor John Kitzhaber Friday announced a $5 million funding package that will allow Josephine County's last sawmill to re-open.
The Rough & Ready Sawmill in O'Brien closed a year ago. It will now be able to open with upgraded equipment thanks to a combination of tax credits and a state loan. At a press conference in White City, Owner Link Phillipi said he expects the mill will be able to hire more than 60 people.
Phillipi: "The overall effect is even greater than it appears. In addition to the 67 direct jobs, hundreds more will be created for logging contractors, truckers and suppliers, and for the community businesses we all patronize."
The Phillipis plan to convert their mill so it can cut small logs from forest thinning and ecological restoration projects.
Rough & Ready Lumber was cutting large pine logs when it closed for lack of logs last year, putting 88 people out of work.
Bettina von Hagen of Ecotrust says they have put together similar funding to keep other mills operating in Oregon.