OMAK, Wash. Wood Resources has signed a 25-year lease with the Colville Tribe to reopen the Colville plywood mill in Omak and ultimately hire as many as 200 workers to operate the mill.
The agreement between the Colville Tribal Federal Corporation, the business arm of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, which owns the mill, and Wood Resources LLC, also includes a wood supply agreement for timber from tribal forest lands. The Colville Tribe has been involved in the timber business for more than 100 years and is a longstanding partner in helping drive the economy in eastern Washington.
"The Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation and CTFC are excited to partner with Wood Resources to bring back jobs for the Tribes and the community," said John Sirois, Chairman of the Business Council of the Colville Tribes. "This long term agreement will provide for sustainable mill operations and timber management in our forests, as well as needed employment opportunities for tribal members. We look forward to a productive and healthy relationship, yielding jobs and meeting our forest management objectives; today’s event begins that path for our people and our lands."
As the mill has been shut down since 2009, it will require significant restorative maintenanceand upgrades to become operational. Wood Resources expects to begin manufacturing veneer as soon as this summer. The company intends to hire employees once it determines the schedule for restoring the mill, and will make announcements about employment opportunities as soon as possible.
“This mill is a crucial piece of the past and present of this community, and the wages earned there have helped the region’s families put food on the table for decades,” said Richard Yarbrough, Chairman of Wood Resources. “Wood Resources is delighted to partner with the Confederated Tribes to revive this enterprise, put people to work and help drive economic development in the area.”
“Our agreement with Wood Resources is an important economic partnership for Colville Tribal Federal Corporation and bolsters an established labor pool and natural resource base,” said Ken Stanger, CTFC Board Chairman. “In addition to providing jobs and driving the economy, it will also help revive the timber industry in our region.”
The Omak mill will initially produce softwood veneer for Northwest markets, as well as Douglas fir plywood for specialty and commodity applications.
Wood Resources operates the Olympic Panel Products plywood mill in Shelton, Wash., as well as plants in North and South Carolina. The company currently employs about 700 people at the three facilities, which together generate about $200 million in revenue each year.
The Colville tribes, the second-largest tribal organization in the state and the largest employer in Okanogan County, bought the mill in 2001 out of receivership of the prior owner, Quality Veneer & Lumber. The harshest decline in the construction industry in 50 years forced the difficult decision to close its operations in 2009. The unemployment rate in Okanogan County was at 10.6 percent in December of 2012.
About Colville Tribal Federal Corporation
Headquartered in Coulee Dam, the Colville Tribal Federal Corporation (CTFC) is the business arm of the Colville Tribes, managing 13 enterprises and generating more than $75 million in revenues. CTFC was formed over three years ago by the Business Council of the Colville Tribes. Through the development of CTFC, the Colville Tribes were able to create new tax and governmental benefits that provided a stable business environment during the economic downturn.
About Wood Resources
Wood Resources operates the Olympic Panel Products plywood mill in Shelton, Washington, as well as plants in North and South Carolina. The company currently employs about 700 people and generates over $200 million of revenues from its three facilities.