Stimson needs a bigger log yard?

by Pete Talbot

You’d think that the first word out of the reporter’s mouth would be “why?”.

Why would Stimson Lumber evict 16 families from company housing to expand its log yard after laying off more than half its workforce and closing down its plywood plant because … it can’t get enough logs?

I’m occasionally accused of being easily confused but this is another example of a news story I can’t quite get my mind around.

On September 1, the Missoulian reported that Stimson Lumber was evicting 16 families from company housing so it could expand its log yard.

Back in May, the Missoulian did a series of articles on Stimson, and why the company was closing its plywood plant and laying off more than half its workers. The reporters quoted many sources who said the log yard was nearly empty and there was a lack of available logs.

Stimson can’t get logs and is closing most of its mill but is evicting families so it can expand its log yard. Can someone please help me out here?

  1. I’m surprised the Missoula Historic Preservation Office hasn’t spoken up about their removal. Or, at the very least, Home Resource isn’t out there salvaging all the fixtures like they are at the Georgetown Lake Lodge.

  2. Missoula Kid

    I think Georgetown Lake Lodge is why Home Resource isn’t out at Bonner. They have their hands full at the moment. However, I wonder about the underlying zoning of the homes. Is it OK to tear down residential dwelling units to expand an industrial use? Perhaps it is a special zoning district that allows residential and industrial uses. I guess I better look that up.

  3. True, Kid. But it seems a shame that all that reusable stuff is going straight to the dump.

  4. Missoula Kid – Bonner is unzoned. They can do whatever they want.

    The Missoulian’s previous article on Stimson sucked, to put it mildly. My three (or 4) previous pieces discussed how the ‘news’paper was putting forth the company lies about how they didn’t have any lumber, and how they had to import it. That the lack of timber sales in the area was hurting their business. All lies.

    The fact that immediately after laying off nearly 200 union workers they now need more room for timber only discloses that. Union is the key word here.

    Stimson’s Bonner mill is the company’s only union shop.

    And that the Missoulian doesn’t – even now – ask the question of how they could have said that they didn’t have any timber and that was why they had to shut down the plywood mill, and now they are tearing down a 1/4 of the historic structures in town for a new lumber yard shows how very basically incompetent the Missoulian is at doing even a sophomoric level of investigative reporting.


  5. paul bowles

    My guess would be that they will soon convert the new log yard into high dollar riverfront residential lots once the milltown restoration has been completed. But that is only my speculation.

  6. petetalbot

    I’ve heard rumors to that effect — that developers are licking their chops for the day when the mill finally closes and sells off the land (after some major clean-up, I imagine). The Milltown restoration will also contribute to the marketing of high-end town homes and condos.

  7. noodly appendage

    The old mill project in Bend Oregon is a quite impressive infill project.

  8. This is what I got today after asking some questions – Denny Washington has a deal going where he is purchasing (or leasing?) the old log yard for his railroad cars. It looks like he is also going to use the old plywood mill site quite possibly also. The plywood mill, itself, is like 5 or 6 acres.

    And they are “hauling logs in there like mad.”

    More layoffs are planned – a whole new set of workers have been given a 90 day notice of impending layoffs.

  9. Dan

    Rebecca, the Historic Preservation Office had their hands tied on this issue, its private property and no preservation laws of any sort applied. Several of us in the historic preservation community are forming an advocacy group and the mill houses were on our draft list of Missoula’s 11 most endangered historic sites. The sad reality is that these resources are literally disappearing before we can get our list finished.

  10. Thanks for replying, Dan. I’m glad to hear you guys are planning on doing something about future losses.

  11. Scoop Montana

    Pete – Seems no one has answered your question about why they need a bigger log yard.

    This is just a guess, as I am not a Stimson person, but I think they need a bigger yard because more and more logs are coming from longer distances.

    As you increase your shipment range, you decrease your ability to coordinate reliable just-in-time shipments. The mill requires a constant feed of logs to run at peak efficiency and maintain thin margins.

    Additionally, you are more at risk to fluctuations in the price for logs when you buy from a distance, given costs of transport. This is partly off-set by buying in larger amounts, requiring more space to store inventory.

    This wouldn’t be necessary if we devised a balanced way to thin and preserve our local forests.

  12. Scoop has fallen for Stimson’s lies:

    This wouldn’t be necessary if we devised a balanced way to thin and preserve our local forests.

    Stimson is clearcutting its own land – cuts other local privately owned lands – and doesn’t put in realistic bids on Federal and State log sales. Go ahead and make the calls yourself. Open up and do a search for Stimson owned land in Missoula, Granite, Powell, Lewis & Clark….

    That it can’t get local logs is a lie. Other mills operate on local logs, including the very profitable Pyramid mill 40 miles to the north. In fact, Pyramid often drives its local logs on by the Stimson mill in Bonner on their way to their own mill in Seeley.

    Stimson wants to break that union and that’s about it.

  13. petetalbot

    I’m still confused. You say that Stimson “is hauling logs in like mad.” And yet they’re laying off more workers and shutting down the plywood mill because of a lack of logs. What are they going to do with all those logs they’re hauling in? (I guess it’s time I went out to Bonner and had a look-see.)

  14. jhwygirl

    The log yard had gotten down to nothing – so there is plenty of room to store lots. Cutting was shut down, too, because of fire season – all mills are facing a shortage because of the slow down. If you’ve driven by there before, you know that logs are usually stacked for acres and acres.

    I know people that got notices of impending lay-offs is where the other information comes from.

  15. bigmodag

    Talbot, Stimson is sorting out the sellable logs for other mills.We who still are employed are still making “Lumber” from the junk that’s left over. Stuff that years ago,that should have been burnt in slash piles. They already have broken the Local Union, we work under sweatshop conditions and reduced hours and it’s bleeding our paychecks to the point that some of us might face bankruptsy,just to keep working there? Most of us left are in our 40’s,50′ and 60’s, but we are survivors, waiting for the end. There is an environmental problem out there, buried from the old Anaconda days,and they know it. Probably why the place is still running. I do know you personally, but I can’t reveil my name. Myown is a old friend.

  1. 1 Stimson Lumber Mill Closing « 4&20 blackbirds

    […] Other 4&20 posts on Stimson: Why Stimson Lumber Mill Matters The Mysteries of Stimson Stimson Needs a Bigger Yard? On Regurgitating Stimson Lies, False Economic Development and Affordable Housing A Short Thought on […]

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