BOARDMAN A Boardman tree grower has received $250,000 from state lottery funds to build and purchase parts for a state-of-the-art sawmill in Morrow County, a project that’s expected to bring 85 permanent full-time jobs to the area.
Scheduled to be finished in September, the Upper Columbia Mill will sit in the middle of a 30,000-acre hardwood plantation owned and managed by Greenwood Tree Farms. The plantation employs 150 people.
A separate company, Collins Companies, will be responsible for operating the mill and selling the wood products it produces. The mill plans to produce 100 million board feet per year.
Sustainability was an important aspect of the business partnership. Because the mill is located on the plantation, harvested trees will travel less than three miles on average to the mill, helping reduce transportation cost and pollution and conserving energy.
The farm plants and harvests more than 600,000 trees annually and is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. Lee Jimeson, a manager for Collins Companies, says the mill workers will be trained in the “natural step principles” to reduce the environmental footprint of the operaton.
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