Newberg paper mill plans to shut down; 210 employees will lose j - KPTV - FOX 12

Newberg paper mill plans to shut down; 210 employees will lose jobs

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NEWBERG, OR (KPTV) -

A Newberg paper mill said it will close down indefinitely, meaning hundreds will be without a job in a matter of weeks. 

SP Fiber Technologies administrators confirmed the announcement to FOX 12 over the phone Monday, citing poor market conditions.

The news is a devastating blow to some 210 employees and their families, along with many people in the town of Newberg.

“It’s been a staple in a lot of people’s lives,” said Dawn Johnson. 

Johnson tells FOX 12 her husband has worked at the mill from some 35 years, and in that time he has fought tirelessly to keep the mill open.

“We’ve been in the paper industry for so long that we knew it was a dying breed.  But still, hearing the news, it’s kind of like being kicked in the stomach, truly,” said Johnson.

It’s a feeling shared by many in the small town.

“If you’ve gone to school here, or worked here, you know someone along the generations that have worked there at the mill,” said Sharon Moore.  “We just want to come together and support our mill workers and see what they need.”

Moore is part of a group of growing people who say that can’t just sit back and do nothing.

“I had a friend who said, ‘Let’s do something,’ and I’m a big doer, so I said, ‘OK, let’s have a meeting,’” said Amy Rockwell.  “We want to help, this community wants to help.”

Monday, under the roof of Rockwell’s church, a group of some 30 people came together to figure out how best to help the 210 workers that will soon be without a job, and the families they all support.

The group is in the process of planning clothing drives, shoe drives and even finding ways to deliver food to families on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

“You just can’t believe how the community is coming together,” said Johnson.  “It’s phenomenal, this is just what we do.”

It’s a show of a support to an industry that’s supported their town for generations.

“It’s one employer, but it sponsors a lot of little leagues, it sponsors our town festival in the Summer, it supports a lot of other businesses,” said Moore.  “Let’s show Newberg what we’re all about, let’s show the state of Oregon what we’re all about.”

For more information on efforts to help workers visit: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1472957466345999/?fref=ts

Employees say they’re being told the mill will shut down mid- November.

Administrators tell FOX 12 say they’re trying to do all that they can to help employees during this difficult time, but would not elaborate on those plans.

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