Wauna Mill announces $150 million investment in paper machine

 

April 18, 2024



Georgia-Pacific has announced a new investment of more than $150 million to rebuild a 1965 vintage paper machine at the Wauna Mill. The mill, which employs more than 700 workers, produces retail bath tissue, paper towels and napkins used by consumers across the country. While the upgraded paper machine is not expected to increase employment, it will create a safer environment for employees and help the company remain competitive in the industry, said Georgia-Pacific public affairs manager Kristi Ward. “It is getting a complete rebuild, so we are very excited about this,” Ward said. “Nearly all the components are going to be replaced with state-of-the-art technology.”

In recent years, Oregon has seen multiple paper mill closures. Ward said that points to the importance of continued strategic investments. “I think what is important to see is that, kind of at a time when other paper mills have closed in Oregon, Georgia-Pacific, they’re putting significant investments into modernizing our facility,” she said. “So it shows that the Wauna Mill remains a long-term strategic facility for Georgia-Pacific, and that’s really exciting for us.”

The Wauna Mill is the second-largest employer in Clatsop County behind Columbia Memorial Hospital in Astoria, said Kevin Leahy, the executive director of Clatsop Economic Development Resources.

In February, county commissioners voted to support the mill through the state’s Strategic Investment Program, which incentivizes large capital investments by offering companies an alternate taxing structure. Under the program, the first $40 million of a project is taxed, and the rest — up to $500 million — is exempt.

Leahy sees the investment as an important step for jobs and economic development. “They are critical to our economy,” he said. The investment also sets a potential example for other businesses, Leahy said, noting the collaboration between the state, county, Clatsop Economic Development Resources and Business Oregon in supporting the project. “A decision like this I think could have a ripple effect of other companies, not just in natural resources, but other industries and sectors in our county, making investments because they feel that they’re being listened to and being served,” Leahy said. “So I think it’s just a real positive statement, but also an opportunity for future investment with businesses looking to expand.”

Engineering and related work for the project has begun, and the startup of the machine is scheduled for 2026. an opportunity for future investment with businesses looking to expand.”

Engineering and related work for the project has begun, and the startup of the machine is scheduled for 2026.

 

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