A scaled-back crew of employees continues to work at Columbia Pulp near Starbuck, Washington, while the business seeks an infusion of cash for its wheat straw pulp factory.
The company temporarily stopped pulp manufacturing in March because of the coronavirus pandemic and had hoped to restart in July after using the downtime to perfect its processes, said Mike Schock, a founder and vice president of the company.
A lack of money prevented that, he said.
Instead, 35 employees, including a new plant manager, are doing their regular jobs, which involve tasks such as working with engineers, writing standard operating procedures and keeping customers informed of their progress, Schock said.
Columbia Pulp has maintained medical insurance for about 70 employees who haven’t yet been called back to work, and the company hopes the majority of them return, he said.
“The optimists will tell us we’ll have capital and be ready to rock-and-roll in November,” Schock said.
After that, it will take about six weeks to make upgrades and see how those improvements perform before pulp production resumes, he said.
Read the complete story at The Lewiston Tribune.