Mill future in limbo as Hanel sold

Hanel Lumber Company has been sold, but the new owner is not yet ready to reveal what the future holds for the historic mill.

"We are evaluating options for the mill, however, at this time we have no immediate plans," said Brad Wilkins, president and part-owner of High Cascade International Corp.

The Home Valley, Wash., veneer plant is located less than 20 miles downriver from Hood River, and was the sole bidder in a Seattle federal court for the Hood River holdings of the bankrupt Quality Veneer and Lumber.

The company offered just $1 more than the $2.5 million minimum price and was awarded the property on July 27.

When the deal closes in mid-August, High Cascade will add the Odell mill to its inventory that also includes the Wilkins, Kaiser and Olson (WKO), Inc., lumber company in Carson, Wash., and the former Stevenson Co-Ply.

Although High Cascade has not yet unveiled future plans for Hanel, local officials are optimistic that the recent sale of six separate county timber sales to WKO is a good omen.

During June and July, the company recently paid about $1.8 million for an estimated 4.6 million board feet of lumber and is expected to begin harvest on those parcels in the near future.

"We are committed to working with the new buyer to come up with an arrangement that will make the mill more economically viable for them," said John Arens, chair of the Hood River County Commission.

He said the county is willing to negotiate on several options that will increase the efficiency of the mill and put its 130 laid-off employees back to work.

These include contracting with WKO to custom cut at least some of the county's 9.5 million board feet of timber and seeking out state and federal funding to set up high-tech training programs for the local labor market.

The sale brings to near-closure a 10-month saga of economic uncertainy at the historic lumber operation.

On Sept. 25, 2000, the operations at Hanel were shut down abruptly and the personnel left without employment.

Four days later QVL, a firm based in Seattle, filed for bankruptcy, just two years after purchasing the Odell plant during another bankruptcy action involving Hood Lumber Company.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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