Hampton Lumber, a prominent lumber company, has recently made the decision to indefinitely close its Banks, Oregon sawmill. This comes after operations at the mill were significantly curtailed since October 2023. The closure of the mill will directly impact its 58 employees, who will now face an uncertain future.
In a press release, Hampton Lumber CEO Randy Schillinger expressed his regret over the closure, stating, “No one wants to see a mill close. However, with the current log supply restrictions in Oregon and the likelihood of additional restrictions on State Forests in the coming years, we just can’t see a viable future for the Banks facility.”
Hampton Lumber took over the Banks mill in 2016, with hopes of revitalizing its operations. At its peak, the sawmill was able to produce enough lumber to frame approximately 38,000 single-family homes. Additionally, it generated a significant amount of revenue for the local economy.
The closure of the Banks sawmill is a blow to the community, as it not only means the loss of jobs but also a decrease in economic activity. The impact will be felt not only by the employees and their families but also by local businesses that relied on the mill for their livelihoods. The closure of such a significant employer in the area will undoubtedly have far-reaching consequences.
The decision to close the mill stems from the ongoing log supply restrictions in Oregon. These restrictions have made it increasingly difficult for sawmills to operate at full capacity and remain financially viable. Furthermore, there are concerns that additional restrictions will be placed on State Forests in the coming years, further exacerbating the challenges faced by the industry.
The closure of the Banks sawmill highlights the broader issues faced by the lumber industry in Oregon. The state has long been known for its thriving timber industry, but in recent years, it has faced numerous challenges. These include environmental concerns, such as the protection of endangered species and the preservation of old-growth forests, as well as changing market dynamics and increased competition.
While the closure of the Banks sawmill is undoubtedly a setback, it is important to recognize that the lumber industry in Oregon is resilient. Despite the challenges it faces, the industry has a long history of adapting to changing circumstances and finding innovative solutions. It is hoped that the closure of the Banks mill will serve as a catalyst for renewed efforts to address the issues facing the industry and ensure its long-term sustainability.
In the meantime, the focus must be on supporting the affected employees and finding alternative employment opportunities for them. The closure of the Banks sawmill will undoubtedly have a significant impact on the local community, and it is vital that measures are put in place to mitigate the effects.
Overall, the closure of the Hampton Lumber sawmill in Banks, Oregon is a stark reminder of the challenges faced by the lumber industry in the state. It serves as a call to action for stakeholders to come together and find solutions that will ensure the long-term viability of the industry while also addressing environmental concerns and supporting the communities that rely on it.