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Call it Boise, not Boise Cascade, from now on

Boise Cascade Corp. won't be Boise Cascade anymore.

Come spring, Southern Oregon's largest wood products employer will drop the "Cascade" from its brand name.

The name change reflects the company's diversified business activities, company spokesman Mike Moser said in a telephone interview from Idaho. More than half of the company's total sales now comes from distributing office products and building materials. The company still manufactures some of those products, but many are purchased from other manufacturers for resale.

"The (public) perception of the company doesn't match what it's become," Moser said.

"We're trying to bring our brand image up to what we are," he said.

Employees at the company's five manufacturing plants in Jackson County will see few changes, Moser said. Signs on some local buildings may be changed by spring 2002. Company identification on vehicles will probably be changed "in the natural flow of things," as vehicles are replaced.

"I don't think people will see a tremendous amount of change other than in little things such as signs and business cards," he said. "The business is the same. Nothing changes about the mills and the way the business operates."

The company employs about 25,000 people, including about 1,000 in White City and Medford, making it the second largest private employer in Jackson County. Local manufacturing plants make plywood, lumber, veneer and laminated-veneer lumber.

The company's 2001 annual report, scheduled for publication in March 2002, will bear the company's new logo, which is still being designed.

The company will retain its full name for all legal activities, including financial trading. The "Boise" name will be used for products and marketing materials.

The company's decision expands on a popular marketing strategy in the automotive industry that uses place names with positive connotations. There are "Monte Carlo" cars, "Dakota" and "Tacoma" pickups, "Montana" minivans, and sport-utility vehicles named "Yukon" and "Tahoe."

Some marketing analysts said the name change might signal a corporate effort to shake an anti-environmental image.

"I think what they're trying to do, to a certain extent, is distance themselves from the forest products part of the business that tends to carry a negative halo with some environmentalists," said Steve Chercover, an analyst with D.A. Davidson in Portland.

Moser said the change had nothing to do with the company's image as a timber harvester.

"We're very proud of our heritage," he said. "We're not trying to get away from anything we do today."

The Associated Press contributed to this report. — Reach reporter Bill Kettler at 776-4492, or e-mail