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Georgia-Pacific moves forward with Wauna Mill modernization project

$152 million agreement approved by clatsop board of commissioners for job preservation, community improvements

The Clatsop County Board of County Commissioners recently approved a Strategic Investment Program agreement with Georgia-Pacific. This agreement supports an approximately $152 million capital investment project to replace a paper machine at the company’s Wauna Mill.

The program seeks to incentivize large capital investments through an alternative tax structure, especially benefiting rural communities. The agreement, which has also been approved by the Port of Astoria, is now subject to review by the Oregon Business Development Commission.

County Administrator Don Bohn explained that the purpose of the state program is to help businesses stay competitive and retain jobs. Wauna Mill is one of the largest private sector employers in Clatsop County. Bohn noted the importance of supporting job retention, especially at a time when competition for investment within the private sector is high. Commissioner John Toyooka shared this view, highlighting the importance of maintaining economic opportunities in the community, especially in the face of potential revenue losses related to state habitat conservation plans.

The project under the Strategic Investment Program agreement includes improvements to buildings and structures, machinery, equipment and fixtures, and personal property. Jeremy Ness, vice president and mill manager of Wauna Mill, expressed enthusiasm for the project. Ness described plans to modernize an older 1965 paper machine into a state-of-the-art machine. In addition to improving production efficiency and flexibility.

“That allows us to use more cost-effective raw materials and gives us the flexibility to create a much wider range of product attributes, so we can better serve our customers and manufacture different products,” Ness said. “Most importantly, it creates a safer and more satisfying environment for our employees, so this is really important to us.”

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