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Columbia Pulp temporarily suspends operations in response to COVID-19


April 14, 2020
By P&PC Staff

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Columbia Pulp's Lyons Ferry millColumbia Pulp's Lyons Ferry mill

Columbia Pulp, the straw pulp mill in Washington, has temporarily suspended regular operations at its Lyons Ferry facility in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The state of Washington is currently under a stay-at-home order with exceptions for essential activities.

In a statement, Columbia Pulp management indicated that while the mill is considered an essential activity, supply chain issues and the health of its workers led to the decision to pause its 24/7 production.

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The company began an orderly shutdown on Mar. 29 and completed it on Mar. 31.

Columbia Pulp laid off most of its workers but has retained some employees perform necessary operations.

Management says the company will explore governmental programs to assist its employees and anticipate the restart of the plant once the COVID-19 threat has passed and broad commerce has commenced.

“These are extraordinary times and the circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic are unprecedented,” says John Begley, CEO, in a statement.

“The employees of Columbia Pulp have given tremendous effort and brought incredible leadership to bringing the Lyons Ferry facility into production. Despite the incredible efforts of our employees and dedicated vendors, the board has determined that following the State of Washington’s ‘Stay at Home, Stay Safe’ guidance is the best course of action at this time.”

The straw pulp mill’s equipment and overall production process are similar to that of a traditional pulp and paper mill, except there is no recovery system. The 130,000-square-foot Lyons Ferry site has one production line anchored by a wet lap pulp machine.

Read more on Columbia Pulp’s operations.