It is with very mixed feelings that those of us out here on the river respond to the news that the mill is shutting down. Yesterday, Boise Inc (formerly Boise Cascade) announced that the pulp and paper mill in St Helens will be "restructuring" operations. This translates to the permanent closure of much of the mill, and the laying off of 300 workers (out of 470). This comes on the heels of an announcement, two months ago, that the Boise veneer mill, a few blocks away, would be closing down as well.
This is a terrific blow to the local economy out here in St Helens. Aside from 300 mill jobs being gouged out of such a small town, there will also be an economic domino effect as the rest of the community adjusts to the shakeout. Some local officials estimate that, for every Boise job loss, there will be an additional 1.3 jobs lost in other sectors, including loggers who supplied the mill with wood, salespeople who served the mill families, restaurant jobs in the places where mill workers ate their lunch....