The auction sign outside the Omak plywood and veneer mill advertising an upcoming auction.

Boise Cascade log supply agreement returns ‘unprecedented’ stumpage  says CTFC

Omak – A large, red and white sign sits along Highway 155 outside the empty log yard of the Colville Tribes’ Omak plywood and veneer mill announcing an upcoming auction at the facility that closed for – what appears now – to have been a final time in January 2017.

Since reopening doors in October 2013, the final few years at the tribally owned fir mill had been turbulent, first with the announced closure by Omak Wood Products, then with the announcement of a new business, Omak Forest Products, operating the venture, and finally with the shutdown of the facilty.

On April 25 at 9 a.m., to April 26, all that history will be complete: The commercial and industrial auctioneer company James G. Murphy Co. will host an auction of the Omak Wood Products mill in Omak with a preview of the auction set for April 24.

But even as the facility waits to be liquidated, optimism is on the horizon:

 “We’re just really hoping in the future that the tribe finds a way and opportunity to set aside funds and investments to reinvest and build something new,” said Colville Tribal Federal Corporation director Kim Peone. “It’s definitely a legacy that has come to a close. It’ a sad day for us.”

The auction can be previewed online at the auctioneer’s website.

The mill was first opened in 1921, and the tribe purchased the facility in 2002 for $5.8 million, two years after the previous owner, Quality Veneer and Lumber, had gone bankrupt.

The tribe ran the facility until 2009 when CTFC shut down Colville Indian Plywood and Veneer, laying off approximately 230 people in a wave from the housing market crash.

When the mill reopened in 2013, it was through a 25-year lease with Omak Wood Products, which was owned by Wood Resources and Atlas Holdings. Along with the lease, the company also signed a log supply agreement with the tribes for 40 million board feet

of fir annually. 

In January 2015, OWP announced a closure of the facility and the new company OFP continued the operation until CTFC terminated the contract and log supply agreement in December of that year.

The decision followed a year that saw a nearly $1 million loss at the mill, according to then OFP General Manager David Niessner, and during that time, both CTFC and OFP looked for ad

“Just because we have an auction doesn’t mean we have an end our identity with our natural resources,” said Peone, who noted a log supply agreement with Boise Cascade is providing “unprecedented stumpage right now.”

In June of 2017, the Colville Tribes signed a 10-year log supply agreement with Boise Cascade that has guaranteed a premium price for tribal fir, according to CTFC’s Brett Black.

In the last quarter alone, the LSA has returned a $629.35 per thousand for fir, according to Black, who contrasts that price to Vaagan’s current offer of $475.

“It was a great decision we made, but in 10 years, where are we going to be?” asked Peone, who has suggested a long-term investment consideration for a future business development. “Where are we going to be as a tribe? We need to plan for the future and we have to be proactive. This is one of the ways that is viable and is attainable.”

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