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90 workers at Korbel Sawmill could lose jobs

KORBEL- About 90 North Coast workers could be out of work in the coming months as California Redwood Company, which is a subsidiary of Green Diamond Resource Company, is considering selling or curtailing the Korbel Sawmill.

California Redwood Company began transitioning out of the redwood lumber manufacturing business in May.

"It was a business decision by green diamond resource company to focus its energy on the growing and harvesting of trees and to provide and sell the timber to other folks who have a well developed redwood manufacturing and redwood marketing program," said Gary Rynearson, the Manager for Forest Policy and Communications for Green Diamond Resource Company and California Redwood Company.

That transition has cost 61 jobs so far nd 24 more will be lost at the end of the month, when the Brainard Facility in Eureka closes.

"The lumber that's manufactured at Korbel, some of that is now transferred here to the Brainard Facility where it is remanufactured into other products, other redwood lumber products and then sold out of this facility.  Because we'll be no longer manufacturing redwood lumber, the Brainard Facility is no longer part of the process,” Rynearson said.

Now, the employment future is uncertain for the approximately 90 employees that work at the Korbel Sawmill because redwood lumber manufacturing is being phased out.  The sawmill is currently being shopped around for potential buyers.

"The options are the mill would be sold, it could continue to operate manufacturing Douglas-fir on a single shift basis or it could be curtailed on a permanent or temporary basis… If a job loss does occur it will be unfortunate but again, we're still looking at the options.  If the saw mill does sell, we're hoping that a purchaser is able to retain those employees,” said Rynearson.

California Redwood Company representatives say the sawmill has been shown to potential buyers, but the representatives did not specify who the buyers are or how many there are.