Roseburg, Ore. – Executives at Roseburg Forest Products announced today that they will be ready to start a phased ramp-up of production at their Weed, Calif., veneer facility beginning Monday, Oct. 13. This date is well ahead of schedule of the earlier target date of Thanksgiving. However, the repairs to the entire mill will likely take until the first quarter of 2015.
The mill was damaged Sept. 15 when the Boles Fire ripped through Weed.
The fire affected the jobs of 135 of the employees at Weed; however, Roseburg was able to quickly keep 90-100 of those employees working during the interim. Between 55 and 60 were relocated to Roseburg, Ore., to continue to help produce veneer in two of the company’s plywood mills: one in Dillard, Ore., and the other in Riddle, Ore. Roseburg provided housing for these employees (and their families, in some instances) and assisted them with meals for the duration of their stay in Oregon. Those employees will travel back to Weed this weekend, where they will begin working again on Monday, Oct. 13.
Another 35 employees have been assisting with repairing and rebuilding parts of the Weed facility in California. In addition, Roseburg has provided temporary housing in the Weed area for 15 employees who lost their homes and everything in them to the fire.
President and CEO Allyn Ford said, “While the fire in Weed was terrible for the community as well as our own employees, I couldn’t be more proud of the teamwork and collaboration of our people. Through the crisis, we’ve discovered some great stories, some great values and some great people. We survived the fire, provided for our affected employees, and repaired the facility enough to get the Weed facility back up and working so that we can help the Weed community recover. I’m proud to be a part of Roseburg Forest Products.”
Roseburg employees, long known for their reputation to give back to the community, have already raised over $51,000 to help those colleagues displaced by the fire. The company has agreed to match those donations dollar for dollar, and a fund has been set up through the United Way in Northern California.
The community in Douglas County (where Roseburg is headquartered) has rallied around the displaced employees as well. O’Toole’s Pub and Treats Café became donation sites for canned foods, bedding, clothes and other necessary items. They then drove their trucks down to Weed to drop off the donated items. Two Shy Brewery, founded by Roseburg citizens, donated 25% of all of last weekend’s proceeds to the employees in Weed. Brooke Communications in Roseburg held a “Need in Weed” drive at Sherm’s Thunderbird grocery store, where community members donated $2,300 in cash, 1,500 pounds of food, and 1,300 pounds of non-food items to the folks in Weed.
“The transition for the employees relocating to Roseburg has been smooth,” said Vice President of Human Resources and Labor Relations Kellye Wise. “These are employees who have an incredible work ethic and just jumped right in to help with production. I am happy we’re able to get them back to their hometown, families and friends as quickly as possible. We are also proud of our Oregon-based employees as we have seen them embrace this temporary transition and work well with the Weed folks.”
Wise also added, “We’ve been down to Weed a number of times to collaborate with community leaders there, and those conversations are ongoing,” said Wise. “We have the same goal: To see Weed cleaned up and thriving as soon as possible.”