June 12, 1996 in Idaho

Mill Sells Land, Some Equipment Crown Pacific Prepares To Close Its Albeni Falls Mill This Month

Eric Torbenson Staff writer

Crown Pacific Partners, which will close its Albeni Falls mill this month, sold the land and some of the mill equipment to Merritt Brothers Lumber Co. Tuesday.

The Priest River sawmill will shut down permanently on Friday, according to Marian Massey, spokeswoman for Portland-based Crown Pacific.

The planer - or wood finishing - part of the mill is scheduled to close June 28, depending on how fast it gets through the last of the logs that run through the sawmill. Both closures will cost a total of 175 jobs.

Merritt Brothers will move its Tri-Pro Cedar Products business on Sullivan Road in Spokane to Priest River. Buck Merritt of Priest River was not available for comment late Tuesday.

Crown Pacific will auction off the sawmill equipment at Albeni Falls later this year. The deal for the remaining mill and land will close June 28, and Merritt will begin to move its operation from Spokane.

The cedar drying operation will employ 25 people for one shift initially, according to Crown Pacific. Massey said she did not know if those 25 people would be from the Spokane end of Merritt’s operation or if they would be hired from those laid off from the mill.

As the move from Spokane to the Albeni Falls location continues, Merritt will hire more people at the plant.

Crown Pacific will help out the new operations by supplying fuel for the drying kilns and cedar lumber for remanufacturing, Massey said.

“Merritt is doing this to boost employment in the area,” Massey said Tuesday from Portland. “It’s been a cooperative effort between Crown and Merritt.”

Crown Pacific employs 425 people at mills in Coeur d’Alene, Bonners Ferry and Colburn. The Bonners Ferry mill remains closed for renovation, and nearly all of the workers there are working a second shift at Colburn.

, DataTimes

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