Unexpected result of mill closure

The closure of the Warm Springs Forest Products Industries mill had consequences beyond just putting people out of work.

One consequence involves the successful enterprise Warm Springs Composite Products.

Composite Products is located adjacent to the mill structures. Unfortunately, the two enterprises shared the same power and water utilities systems.

The mill is now in receivership, and not in operation. If the mill does not re-open, then Composite Products eventually would need to have its own separate power system, said Jake Coochise, Composite chief executive officer.

There have been power outages recently with the overall system, he said, causing some problems for Composite Products.

The solution—establishing a new power system at Composite—will have a financial impact on the enterprise. The water system—the same pump that serves the mill also serves Composite—is another issue that would have to be dealt with.

Jake and Composite Chief Financial Officer Chuck Currier gave the update last week to Tribal Council. Tribal Councilman Austin Greene said he appreciates the patience at Composite Products, as the Tribal Council works through the WSFPI receivership process.

An enterprise shut-down, such as happened with WSFPI, is new to the tribes, and there are unknown aspects, Chairman Greene said. Meanwhile, he said, an update on the receivership process is coming up later this month. The update could provide some insight in how to deal with the power matter at Composite Products.