Upcoming Korbel Mill closure will cost 106 jobs

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KORBEL- One hundred six North Coast workers will lose their jobs in the beginning of February.

The Senior Vice President of California Operations for Green Diamond Resource Company, Neal Ewald, says the Redwood Lumber Industry is not what it used to be.

"I would guess probably half of the volume has gone away from 30 years ago to today, so the employment and the sawmilling capacity has gone down with it," said Ewald.

In May, California Redwood Company, a subsidiary of Green Diamond Resource Company, began its transition out of the redwood lumber manufacturing business. 

“Housing starts are down by half from what they were before the crash even, we know the stock market seems to recover but the lumber market hasn't," Ewald said.

Since May, a total of 80 employees have lost their jobs.  On Thursday, the company announced the Korbel Mill will close during the first week of February, and 106 employees will be laid off.  The announcement came after 25 potential buyers of the mill decided not to make the purchase.

“We tried to make a go of douglas fir for the last six months, and we've not been able to be profitable doing that,” said Ewald.

Green Diamond Resource Company has providing resume building and retraining services for all laid off employees, and will do the same for the Korbel Mill workers.

"These are folks who have been working with us for decades and in some cases, the people there have been employees for generations.  Their fathers and grandfathers in some cases have worked for us and so we have an obligation to the people who have been loyal, dedicated employees,” said Ewald.

Now, Green Diamond Resource Company will continue to look for potential buyers of the Korbel Mill.

"It's our hope that we can find someone to come in and operate it, if not to come in and retrofit it and make it a world class mill.  If none of that happens, then we'll continue to keep it for a while and determine what our next options are," said Ewald.