Governor Announces Recovery Act Grant for Wood Pellet Facility in John Day
Recovery Act funds will help save and create over 90 jobs in rural Oregon
(Salem) – Governor Ted Kulongoski today announced a $4.89 million federally-funded economic recovery grant from Business Oregon to the Ochoco Lumber Company of John Day. The funding will construct a wood pellet fuel facility, helping support the retention of 80 full-time jobs and creating 11 new ones in the community.
The grant opportunity was made possible by the U.S. Forest Service and funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act). Malheur National Forest officials worked in conjunction with Business Oregon staff to make the pellet fuel project possible.
“This project will save and create jobs in an industry hit very hard by the current recession,” said Governor Kulongoski. “It will not only have a huge impact on the local community, but will also have a profound impact on the health of our forests.”
The Recovery Act grant will allow Ochoco Lumber, doing business in John Day as the Malheur Lumber Company, along with its partner Bear Mountain Forest Products, to produce pine fuel pellets for retail sale in the Pacific Northwest as well as Bear Bricks™ – a compressed fuel product. Bear Mountain Forest Products, founded in 1988 and based in Portland, has manufacturing plants in Brownsville and Cascade Locks and sells its products to more than 400 retailers in the western U.S.
“We are very excited about this project,” said Ochoco Lumber President Bruce Daucsavage. “This is going to mean good things for this community.”
The new facilities will utilize biomass harvested from private lands as well as nearby U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands. The plant will produce pellets for bulk delivery to fuel pellet boilers in hospitals, schools and other commercial and government buildings in the region. The company also hopes to significantly increase production by providing fuel pellets to large industrial users such as utility companies.
The recovery funds will help the company purchase and install a new drying system, two pellet-making machines and the infrastructure necessary for the boiling and drying processes. The company hopes to have the pellet-making operation up and running by the end of next summer.
Anna Richter Taylor, 503-378-6169
Jillian Schoene, 503-378-5040
Rem Nivens, 503-378-6496
Courtney Warner Crowell (Economic Recovery), 503-378-3554