I've held off from posting this for a bit, but it should be noted that the Ponderay Newsprint Company located in Usk Washington is permanently shutting down. This closure is a huge blow to the surrounding community and to the POVA itself.
Newspaper reports indicate:
The Pend Oreille Public Utility District previously said the mill - which until recently used about 70% of the utility's electricity - had begun a period of "indefinite idling" after a two-week pause of operations.
The mill, which opened in late 1989, has supplied newsprint for publications in the Midwest, along the West Coast, and in Asia and South America. The plant is jointly owned by Lake Superior Forest Products, a subsidiary of Quebec-based Resolute Forest Products, and five major U.S. publishers, according to its website.
This closure will no doubt have major impacts on the railroad industry in the Pend Oreille valley as the mill was the railroad's largest customer. What will the future of the POVA be like?
Well, apparently the Kalispel Indian tribe is looking to purchase the Newsprint company in hopes of re-opening the mill according to the Spokesman-Review
Whatever the future of the mill might be, it will always have a special place on my humble, little model railroad.
Tribal vice chair Curt Holmes said the tribe had its chief financial officer review all the possibilities for the plant and its 900 acres, and the primary goal is to reopen the paper mill and restore the jobs that were so vital for the community’s survival.
“I live up on the reservation,” Holmes said. “It’s hard to find economic development opportunities that work up there. My dream is that my kids and other kids, if they choose to stay, can still have meaningful employment up there.”I've grown quite fond of the Pend Oreille Valley over the years as my research has given me a great deal of appreciation for the history, the industry, the people, and the beautiful landscape found in the area.