Last week, Rough and Ready lumber started shutting down its sawmill in the Southern Oregon town of Cave Junction. It’s a story that’s repeated itself in timber towns across the northwest. In 1980 there were 390 mills operating in Oregon. Today there are 103.
Last week, the employees of Rough and Ready Lumber were called in to a staff meeting. Most of them walked out without their jobs. But the mill isn’t shuttered quite yet. There are tall stacks of sugar pine lumber and six inch timbers to take care of. A dozen workers sort the wood and load it on to carts.