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Mill restarts on trial run

ASHLAND -- Parsons Pine Products resumed operations Thursday after being closed for more than two months.

Six workers -- the management team of the mill -- staffed the Helman Street plant Thursday.

We'll be running with six for the next two weeks and then jump up to 18-20 as weeks go by, said Bruce Engel, chief executive of the mill's parent company, the Portland-based Encore Group.

Engel and company president Mike Rasmussen spent Thursday relaying pieces of oak into a molding machine to fill an order that was on the books when the mill was forced to close in February.

We are pitching in to help get going again, Engel said.

We had a good day, said Rasmussen. We got phone calls from customers and more orders. It's a huge relief and we're very excited.

Parsons, which filed for bankruptcy last month, got permission Wednesday to reopen on a trial basis until June 3, when the court will determine whether it will be allowed to continue.