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Swanson to rebuild Springfield plywood mill

Swanson Group, which employs 350 people in two mills in Glendale, announced this week it would rebuild its Springfield plywood and veneer mill that was destroyed by fire in July.

That fire displaced 250 workers, 43 of whom took jobs in the Glendale sawmill and plywood mills.

Since the fire, Swanson has been working with insurers, a neighboring landowner, and government officials on rebuilding options. Swanson has received assurances and commitments that make the rebuild possible, according to a company press release.

"We are excited about this opportunity, and assuming everything falls into place, we will be able to start ordering equipment in the coming months," said Steve Swanson, company president and chief executive officer. "Springfield is well positioned in terms of log supply and workforce, which make our site an attractive place to recapitalize."

Construction will begin this summer and is expected to be finished in mid-2016.

Springfield Mayor Christine Lunberg was thrilled with the news.

"Wood products and logging have just been a foundation of the community in Springfield," she told the Register-Guard newspaper in Eugene. "They are still such a big part of who we are. We didn't want to lose one that has been here and has contributed to the community."

The new mill will again produce veneer and plywood products, and will employ 180 to 190 people.

Chief Operating Officer Chuck Wert said the displaced workers have been through a lot and that the ones who moved to Glendale would be offered their previous jobs.

"We are delighted to be able to offer them, as well as many of our other displaced employees, an opportunity to return home," Wert said.

Swanson Group is a family-owned company based in Glendale. In addition to the Glendale mills, it has operations in Roseburg, and also operates Swanson Group Aviation, which operates helicopters, and Swanson Group Sales, specializing in forest products distribution.

Reach reporter Jeff Duewel at 541-474-3720 or jduewel@thedailycourier.com.