timber industry

Desmond O'Boyle

The 77th Annual Oregon Logging Conference returned to Eugene last weekend. Industry professionals, equipment, and networking are the main attractions. Saturday morning featured family activities and some friendly competition.

All the heavy equipment is on display and demonstrations are ongoing here at the 2015 Oregon Logging Conference. This mobile wood splitter can dissect a tree into firewood fast.

Big toys and industry information sharing aren't the only activities going on Saturday.

Cassandra Profita

At Hampton Lumber's Tillamook sawmill on the North Coast of Oregon, workers are packaging a bundle of freshly milled lumber with plastic and staple guns. The boards look a lot like the rest of the lumber the the mill makes. But they represent a bright spot on an otherwise dismal landscape.

They've been measured and cut specifically for a customer in China. And mill manager Mark Elston says they could be the key not only to keeping the mill open but may even get the mill back up to full capacity for the first time since the U.S. housing market collapsed in 2008.

Amelia Templeton / Earthfix

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.