Bringing the Economy Home

Emmett, Idaho Sawmill Closes Its Doors — Again

Molly Messick / StateImpact Idaho

A worker tended a machine that stacks boards not long after the Emerald Forest Products mill began operating again late last spring.

An Emmett, Idaho sawmill funded by $4 million in federal stimulus money and additional capital from private backers stopped operations last week, closing its doors for the second time since 2010.

The mill’s primary owner, Montana entrepreneur Dick Vinson, blamed the recession and inadequate equipment for the first closure. When the Emerald Forest Products mill reopened last June, Vinson predicted it could be profitable within weeks. Today, he declined to explain why the mill last week let its remaining workers go, but he did confirm operations have ceased. 

“We’re going to be selling,” he said. “We have two different interested parties that are coming in, and I’m confident one of them will make a deal.”

He also acknowledged the mill missed Friday’s payday, but said workers will be compensated by 3 p.m. this Wednesday.

Former plant manager John Steward, who had been in his job since August, agreed to talk while wrapping up a few last responsibilities at the mill. “We didn’t have any logs coming in here for the last month and a half, so we kind of knew it was coming,” he said. “I knew we were going to have a layoff, at least.”

StateImpact reported on the Emerald Forest Products mill’s reopening and the federal stimulus dollars it received. Those stories are available here and here.


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