Josephine County saw mill to re-open this summer

Cave Junction, Ore. -- After sitting idle for almost a year Rough and Ready Lumber Company is getting the support to start back up this summer.

Oregon's Governor John Kitzhaber announced Friday that the nearly century old saw mill in Josephine County will receive a total of five million dollars to get back on its feet. Owner Link Phillippi said this opportunity is crucial for all of Illinois Valley.

"The rural parts of the state are suffering from double digit unemployment and opportunities need to be found in rural Oregon," Phillippi said.

The government crackdown on cutting timber last year put the company out of business and left 88 employees jobless.

"Federal timber is what we live off of," Phillippi said.

But now comes another chance for the last remaining saw mill in Josephine County.

"We're going to be reemploying about 67 people to operate the saw mills," Phillippi said.

The mill will be funded by a $1 million Business Oregon Loan and $4 million in federal tax credits. He said the money will go toward upgrading the small log mill and will supply the company with enough money until they are back up and running self sufficiently.

"This mill is needed to address the bleak picture in Josephine County," Phillippi said.

He said he hopes the federal government will come up with a reasonable and certain timber supply to support milling operations.

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