West End timber mills waking up

Economy rising as second site is sold in past month

Tony Raynor.

Tony Raynor.

FORKS — A second Florida wood products entrepreneur is buying the dormant 45-acre Interfor USA Inc.-Beaver sawmill site in a plan that includes leasing land Intefor now rents from the city of Forks to start up new engineered timber facility.

The announcement today by Tony Raynor, CEO of central Florida-based Sustainable Green Team Ltd., a publicly traded company, will follow by three weeks Spencer Forest Products LLC making public its purchase of the former Allen Logging Co. mill 25 miles south in West Jefferson County.

“We’ve already funded it and the money is in escrow,” Raynor said Thursday morning before boarding a flight for Seattle and the trip to Forks to sign closing papers on the Beaver property, which he said his company is buying for $1 million.

“I decided to sign the papers face to face,” he said.

“Everything’s done.”

Sustainable Green Team subsidiaries include National Storm Recovery LLC and Mulch Manufacturing, Inc., formerly owned by the owner of Spencer Forest products.

“The company’s primary corporate objective is to provide a solution for the treatment and handling of tree debris that has been historically sent to local landfills and disposal sites, creating an environmental burden and pressure on disposal sites around the nation,” according to the company’s LinkedIn site.

The Beaver property is listed for sale for $1.1 million by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. Raynor did not want to comment Thursday on the purchase price.

“We’ve been working with the community for the last year,” Raynor said.

“We are founded on solutions and putting people to work. We’ve put together a long-term strategy so this wouldn’t be a quick-buck project.”

Interfor, which has a plant west of Port Angeles, shut down the Beaver and Forks facilities in 2014, throwing 87 people out of work.

Their revival will create a combined 95 jobs that will pay an average $52,000 a year not including benefits, according to Daniel Underwood of Olympus Consulting, who analyzed the impact of the two plants under a contract with the Clallam County Economic Development Council.

Using IMPLAN economic software, he estimated the $4.9 million payroll would create 95 more jobs with a $4.7 million payroll and state and local tax revenues of $1,157,590.

“These impacts are countywide,” he said, adding the impact analysis is approximate given the data available.

According to the Clallam County Assessor’s Office, the Beaver property at 200673 U.S. Highway 101 has been owned by Spokane-based LPS Real Estate and Development Co., owned by Chuck Lepinski.

Lepinski owns Clarksburg, Tenn.-based LPS Equipment and Acquisition Co., North America’s largest sawmill, pallet and wood industry equipment dealer.

Raynor said he is purchasing the property from Lepinski.

Raynor said he’s negotiating with the city of Forks to lease 25 acres at 413 Sitkum-Sol Duc Road leased by Interfor at the city’s 80-acre industrial park.

“Interfor and the city and all of us are in agreement to move forward with this,” Raynor said.

“We’re in that stage where we’re finalizing it now.”

“We are trying to work on getting everything done,” City Attorney-Planner Rod Fleck said Thursday. “There’s been a flurry of information.”

Raynor estimated the Beaver site, with a 100,000-square-foot building, has about a 24-month build-out period. The Forks site, with an 89,000-square-foot building in place, has an approximate build-out timeline of less than a year.

“We hope to get it done much quicker than that,” Raynor said. “We want to be on the safe side.”

Raynor said the Beaver site will produce dimensional and specialty lumber products and by-product mulch products.

Mayor Tim Fletcher said Thursday he did not want to comment on the purchase of the Beaver site until it is officially announced today.

Both sites will process primarily Douglas fir and hemlock from local landowners and state Department of Natural Resources land, Raynor said.

He said the company will sell chips and sawdust to pulp and pellet mills.

The Forks Industrial Park site will produce mass timber, a lightweight wood product engineered for high strength consisting of compressed layers of wood. It is constructed into panelized components formed through environmentally-friendly adhesives, said Ted Marra, the company’s project manager.

The facility will produce cross-laminated timber and glu-lam products free of fomaldahyde, he said.

Combined, the company is spending about $20 million at both sites.

The company has 250 employees and two mills in Jasper, Fla., and Homerville, Ga. It has seven plants overall.

Sustainable Green Team had more than $5 million in net profit in 2020.

Its market cap, or total dollar market value of outstanding shares of stock, was $783 million as of Thursday.

Spencer Forest Products LLC expects to open a newly tooled former Allen Logging Co. mill at 176412 U.S. Highway 101 in Jefferson County by December, company construction engineer Rollie Dawson said in an earlier interview. The mill will manufacture softwood, as Allen Logging did, he said.

Dawson could not be reached Thursday for comment.

“There is an opportunity for family wage jobs,” Clallam County Commissioner Bill Peach said Thursday, adding that housing remains a challenge.

“It means making the most of a renewable resource by milling the product near the source,” U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer said in a prepared statement. “And it means re-igniting the milling industry in the heart of our wood basket.”

Raynor said he worked closely with state Rep. Mike Chapman of Port Angeles, state Sen. Kevin Van De Wege of Sequim, and Clallam County Economic Development Council Executive Director Colleen McAleer over several months to get to closing day.

They praised the Green Team project Thursday.

“This will be transformational for our local West End economy,” McAleer said, adding that increased housing starts and high lumber prices make the mills more viable than they were several years ago.


Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at pgottlieb@peninsuladailynews.com.

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