Business

Olympic Panel of Shelton will close at the cost of 217 jobs

The state Employment Security Department issued a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notice on Wednesday concerning the closure of Olympic Panel Products of Shelton.
The state Employment Security Department issued a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notice on Wednesday concerning the closure of Olympic Panel Products of Shelton. Staff file, 2008

More than 200 jobs will soon disappear in Mason County.

The news carried little surprise Wednesday as the state Employment Security Department issued a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notice concerning loss of 217 jobs and the closure of Olympic Panel Products of Shelton.

The bad news was expected, and now it’s time to move ahead, said Jennifer Baria, business development manager at the Economic Development Council of Mason County.

“They were sold to a company out of Oregon,” she said. “We have known that this was coming.”

Olympic Panel officials were not available for comment Wednesday.

The announcement follows similar news delivered in April 2015 when Simpson Lumber Co. said would close its Shelton mill following a sale to Sierra Pacific Industries of Redding, California.

At the time, Sierra Pacific announced in a Simpson news release it would build “at least one new, state-of-the-are sawmill and lumber planning operation on the Shelton waterfront site.”

That expectation remains.

“It means a lot of work,” Baria said.

Just as it did with the Simpson layoff announcement.

“What we as a community did was really rally around the workers, which is just what we’re going to do with this,” she said.

A “rapid response” team comprising workforce specialists and representatives from ESD will begin meeting with affected workers soon, Baria said.

“I think the biggest thing that is a concern is the worker support,” she said. “We want to make it as easy as possible. The No. 1 focus is on these workers. There is a point where they need to grieve through their loss and move on.”

The release of the Olympic Panel employes will be two-tiered, she said, with some workers remaining to dismantle equipment.

Announcements concerning job openings at the same waterfront site under the Sierra Pacific brand will be made as soon as possible, she said.

C.R. Roberts: 253-597-8535

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