State

Standard mill delays closure by a month to clear out logs

STANDARD — The Sierra Pacific Industries sawmill, which was scheduled to close Friday, will run about a month longer to finish its log supply.

The new closure date for the 146-employee plant is Aug. 14, Mark Luster, community relations manager for the Redding-based company, said Tuesday.

"The volume there is going to take a little longer to get through than we anticipated," he said.

Most of the workers will lose their jobs in mid- August, but a few will remain for two more weeks to move the last of the lumber through the plant, Luster said.

Sierra Pacific announced in March that it would close the nearly century-old plant because of poor lumber demand and government limits on logging.

The closure is expected to put perhaps 150 contract loggers and truckers out of work, along with the mill employees. The company will continue to operate its Chinese Camp plant, which employs about 145 people and specializes in cedar fencing.

The Standard mill was the heart of a once-thriving timber industry in the county.

County leaders have said the closure will add to already high unemployment, 11.9 percent in May, and hinder efforts to thin fire-prone forests.

Sierra Pacific will keep the mill intact and might reopen it at some point if the economy and log supply improve, Luster said.

Bee staff writer John Holland can be reached at jholland@modbee.com or 578-2385.

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