Stimson Lumber Mill Closing

by jhwygirl

The release says temporarily – up to 12 months. Yeah, right.

It gets nastier – KPAX is reporting that Jeff Weber, Stimson’s Vice-President of Manufacturing, said that “a shortage of raw logs and a slumping U.S. housing market are to blame for the closing of the mill.”

A shortage of raw logs? He’s still going to slip that lie in on his way out the door? A slumping housing market isn’t enough?

Always serving the corporate interests first. Thank you Ma Stimson.


DEQ should start looking, now, into the state’s next EPA cleanup site before Stimson breaks ground and runs. Decades of chemicals stored and soaked onto timbers in those yards out there – God knows why Scott Cooney wants the land.

Talk to any old timer and they’ll tell you stories of barrels of crap sprayed and poured on timbers and logs out there for supplying the mining and railroads.

Perhaps Cooney and Stimson have a plan for hiding all the crap there in the ground?

On the other hand, Cooney is already raising the rents on the homes in Bonner.

Wasn’t he championing his development plans as those that will provide affordable housing for Missoula’s workforce? I’m too disgusted to go looking for the story – I remember Missoulapolis also championing Cooney’s “affordable housing” plans.

100 more Missoula workers are out of a job tonight, folks.

My heart goes out to those families.

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 the Bitteroot Resort

  1. Huh? When did I “champion” his plans? Got a link or are you “too disgusted” to go looking for that, too?

  2. You should give me a link, then, to when I called for taxing everyone for affordable housing. But alas, I won’t expect you to reciprocate in kind.

    You can’t.

    That being said, you did this post, back in October, which championed the fallout of the market (sound familiar?) and Cooney’s resulting ability to provide free market affordable housing.

    Now, unlike jhwygirl, we think this a splendid idea, especially given the, uh, current situation. We think Cooney should build those houses just as quickly as possible, especially if he doesn’t care if he makes money. There are probably a few framers and drywallers around who could use the work.

    Oh, and you’re welcome – I’m sure you’re loving the traffic…….btw.

  3. “A shortage of raw logs?”

    Wait, didn’t we already go through this whole situation almost one year ago with Stimson officials trying to blame their problems on a lack of logging? See

    And in the past year, the situation facing the wood products industry has certainly gotten worst…much worst. The housing bubble has burst and the subprime mortgage crisis has hit, throwing not only the US economy into a recession, but also impacting economic markets around the world. And let’s not forget about NAFTA and the $3.15 (and rising) gallon of gas. All these factors have had a tremendous negative impact on the wood products industry.

    If this was about “a shortage of raw logs” then why have 10,000 forestry workers in British Columbia lost their jobs in the past year? See Canadian wood products companies certainly have all the access to cheap raw logs that they want.

    Here are some other useful figures and quotes to put this situation in perspective.

    According to Random Lengths, the composite price for 1,000 board feet of framing lumber (used in home construction) in August 2004 was $473. In December 2007 it was down to $267.

    “We’re now in the steepest two-year decline in lumber consumption ever. It’s left us with way too much lumber on the market for the current demand.” – Butch Barnhardt, director of information services at the Western Wood Products Association at

    “I am sure you are aware that we are in the midst of one of the worst housing markets of our working lifetimes. Not only are all mills reporting negative earnings, most producers simply cannot sell the lumber that they made.”
    – Jeff Weber, Stimson Vice President, in letter to mill workers, 1/26/08 at

    Mr. Weber, did I hear you correctly? “… we are in the midst of one of the worst housing markets of our working lifetimes….most producers simply cannot sell the lumber that they made?” Hmmm…maybe it’s not about “a shortage of raw logs” Mr. Weber.

  4. Your ear for irony is splendid, as usual. But seriously, if he does go ahead and build – which would be stupid in this market – it could result in truly affordable housing. If you’re interested.

    Glad to year you don’t support the mayor’s tax levy.

  5. Dan

    jhwygirl, you missed the mark here. Look at the bigger picture. The same day the berm at Blackfoot River was breached for the bypass channel was the same day Stimson announced their closure. These two stories are related even though at first blush they appear different. This is the new economy that we have to face. Even though we are still a natural resource based economy, the very basis of how we approach the natural resources in Montana for our economic underpinnings has shifted. We are no longer extracting natural resources, instead we are merely viewing them or we are even restoring them. I’m not saying this shift is good or bad, but avoiding economic reality never accomplishes anything.

  6. petetalbot

    One would like to believe that this state, this country, could move beyond a boom-and-bust economy. Let’s try something like sustainable forestry so that there wouldn’t be too many or to few logs sitting in a log yard. This would require some planning and regulation, which is abhorrent to the free marketeers. But it has to be better than the current system of layoffs and plant closures when the economy stumbles, and then clear cuts and massive imports when the markets heat up.

  7. steve kelly

    “Economic reality?” “Free marketeers?” “Sustainable Forestry?” Can you say federal subsidies? Federal dollars account for roughly 50% of Montana’s economy. Our top politicians are funded by out-of-state PACs. But what we Montanans love more than anything is beating a dead horse. On the bright side(if you’re the pro-growth type), Bonner may now be the hottest real estate prospect in Montana (Belgrade exploded the minute the Plum Creek mill closed).

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