Sierra Pacific Industries’ (SPI) manufacturing site in Eugene, Ore., acquired with the company’s purchase of Seneca in 2021, is marked for “significant investments.” With new cutting and stud mills set to replace existing sawmilling facilities, officials for SPI say the site will become “one of the largest and most modernized mills” in the country once completed.

SPI corporate affairs director Andrea Howell tells [DWM] that plans for growth and expansion at the Eugene site began “almost immediately” following the acquisition of Seneca, a company that operated a 175,000-acre tree farm, sawmills and a biomass plant in Oregon. Once the newest mills are complete, SPI estimates that the Eugene complex will have an annual production capacity of 650 million board feet, nearly doubling its current capacity of more than 350 million board feet.

“The underlying fundamentals in the U.S. housing market gives SPI confidence there will be a steady demand for lumber, doors and windows in the coming years,” Howell told [DWM], noting that the company doesn’t anticipate using primary products from Eugene as parts for doors and windows.

Already underway is the construction of a new trucking facility as well as a new facility for engineering, technology and fabrication. SPI estimates that those projects will be completed in fall 2023.

“These new facilities will expand efficiencies for the site and support the design, fabrication and construction of the new sawmills,” SPI officials say. “The new mills are planned for construction offline, alongside existing mill facilities. This will allow SPI to maintain full employment and operations during construction, moving into the new facilities as they are completed.”

Howell also tells [DWM] that technological advancements at the mills will see SPI maintain its current employee base of 300-plus persons.

“We are looking forward to our crew members being a part of seeing this project being built out and eventually operating the new mills,” she says.

Provided appropriate permits and approvals are secured, SPI estimates that the project will be completed between 2025 and 2026.

“Sierra Pacific is energized about this opportunity to continue to provide quality, renewable wood products to meet the anticipated increased demand for housing and other societal needs,” says Todd Payne, SPI president of lumber. “This project will make our Eugene mill site one of the largest and most modern sawmills in the U.S., continuing to build our momentum in growing our position in a critical market while maintaining our commitment to sustainably grown and manufactured wood products, and our talented, hard-working crewmembers.”

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