Paper Mill Reopening Is Cause For Celebration In Coastal Washington

Oct 29, 2012

Grays Harbor County on Washington’s coast is tied for the highest unemployment rate in the state. But Monday there was cause for celebration. A shuttered paper mill there has reopened - nearly 18 months after it closed.

Steam once again pours out of the stack at the once shuttered paper mill In Hoquiam, Wash.
Credit Northwest News Network

This is the sound of a hulking 80-plus year old mill churning out giant rolls of paper. And this is the sound of a community celebrating the return of jobs.

When this mill on the banks of the Chehalis River shut down, 250 people lost their jobs. Now, it’s up and running - under new ownership - and once again producing 100 percent recycled copy paper.

Tim Gibbs is in charge of economic development in this county. He went home with a souvenir: a ream of paper signed by the CEO.

“Initial production Harbor Paper. 9/12/12. Tim thanks for everything. John Begley," Gibbs reads.

Austin Jenkins: “What’s the significance of an autographed and signed ream of paper?”

“It means 175 people are back to work in the Harbor, direct jobs," Gibbs says.

But Gibbs is quick to put it in perspective. Unemployment in this battered coastal community may be going down. But’s it’s still in the double digits.

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network