Prairie Wood Products Closes Due To FS Transport Grant Dispute

Claiming that a change in policy concerning the use of Forest Service grant money for transportation costs, Prairie Wood Products in Prairie City, Ore. suspended operations in March citing a disagreement with FS officials. Company officials are currently working with the FS to resolve the matter and get back to work.

The mill received an FS Timber & Biomass Transportation grant from the FS in December 2023 with the understanding the grant would provide matching funds to help cover transportation costs for timber sales the company was working on the Malheur National Forest. However, after submitting paperwork in February, company officials were told the grant money wasn’t eligible for reimbursement for current sales. 

In a statement to all parties involved, Grant County Commissioner Jim Hamsher noted a key purpose of the grant is to ensure that wood products industry infrastructure “is maintained into the future” and the FS decision not to allow reimbursement affects that infrastructure. He added that the company is in the process of re-permitting, upgrading and restarting a cogeneration plant on site. The facility would play a key role in utilizing the large amount of biomass generated by thinning and other forest treatments to improve forest health.

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