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  • UPDATED: Boise Cascade recalls laid off employees, adds jobs

  • Boise Cascade said today it has recalled previously laid off employees at its Western Oregon Region mills in Medford, White City and Willamina and will add 40 full-time, entry-level employees to its staff.
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  • Boise Cascade said today it has recalled previously laid off employees at its Western Oregon Region mills in Medford, White City and Willamina and will add 40 full-time, entry-level employees to its staff.
    The Idaho-based wood products firm has increased market share for its plywood and engineered wood panels in both domestic and Canadian markets, creating expanded production schedules, said Boise Cascade spokesman R.J. Roberts.
    (Updated: 1:20 p.m.) With nine recalled workers and 40 new hires, mostly in Medford and White City, Roberts said Boise will have 580 employees in the region.
    “The current markets for our wood products, and the recent upturn in demand for the products we make using the veneer produced in our mills, have necessitated this hiring,” Roberts said.
    Two events far from the Rogue Valley played a role in Boise announcement. Georgia-Pacific closed two southern pine plywood plants, putting 700 employees in Crossett, Ark., and 400 employees in Hawthorne, Fla., out of work in November. Latin American panel maker Celulosa Arauco saw its plant reduced to ashes early this month by wild fires in Nueva Aldea, Chile. The fire displaced fire 660 workers. It will take two years to rebuild the mill, officials said.
    “When Georgia-Pacific closed its plants it created a phenomena where the southern pine market tightened up because of production shortages,” said Tim Cochran, associate editor at Eugene-based Random Lengths, a wood products industry journal. “People in Southern California, for example, used to buying southern pine were all the sudden seeing prices going up and started looking to the north. Fir plywood is more attractive now and Boise is particularly keyed into servicing that market. Murphy Plywood (in Rogue River) is expanding to capitalize on this too.”
    The Western Fir Plywood Composite price rose to $507 per 1,000 square feet last week from $470 on Dec. 30. During that two-week span, the Southern Pine Plywood Composite jumped to $505 from $456, while the broader Structural Panel Composite price rose to $329 last week from $305.
    “The Georgia-Pacifc mills were pretty big,” Cochran said. “Boise and Murphy won’t completely fill that void. Presumably, there will be other southern pine mills that will ramp up a bit. There are other mills on the verge of taking a few weeks off, or worse, and now the market is all of the sudden good.”
    Roberts acknowledged Boise’s gains, including new contracts with Home Depot and some Canadian companies, came at the expense of competitors.
    “Housing starts are stagnant at best,” he said. “We’re just hoping the bleeding stops soon.”
    Roberts said Boise Cascade received 700 applications during a three-day job fair earlier this month and interviews to fill the new positions will continue through Feb. 3.
    “We’ve been planning on hiring these people,” Roberts said. “To start up one shift leads to another. We’re anticipating more business for engineered wood products, which means we make more plywood and when we make more plywood, we need more veneer.”
    — Greg Stiles
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