By Justus Caudell/The Tribal Tribune
For the second time in as many years, employees of an Omak mill are preparing to lose their jobs around the new year.
Late last week, the 217 employees of the Omak Forest Products mill received 60-day notices of termination, essentially announcing the end of the Omak Forest Products’ operation of the tribally-owned facility.
On Dec. 1, Forest Products received notification from Colville Tribal Federal Corporation it’s contract and log supply agreement with the company would end on Jan. 29, according to Omak Forest Products General Manager David Niessner.
The decision follows a year that has seen a nearly $1 million loss at the mill, according to Niessner. It’s a loss he attributes to a bad market that has slowly ticked upward since November, showing optimism.
“Next year, 2017 is shaping up to be a good year,” said Niessner. “I think we could have done some great things. The stock market has rallied over the last month. People’s optimism with building and construction has gone way up.”
January marks just 11 months since the CTFC opened the mill. Niessner said the mill will stop processing logs by the end of the year and stop marketing product by mid-January.
A call to CTFC’s Brett Black went unreturned to the Tribal Tribune.
In February, the business, formerly known as Omak Wood Products, was sold to Omak Forest Products.
In December of 2015, 175 employees of the former business were set to lose their jobs if another investor hadn’t been found.