Thursday, July 31, 2008

145 years and counting...

Scotia, CA
Brief history:
1863 -- Pacific Lumber Co. formed
1906 -- Redwood rebuilds San Francisco after quake
1964 -- Massive flood wipes out PL log decks, nearby timber towns
1975 -- Pacific Lumber listed on New York Stock Exchange
1986 -- Houston-based Maxxam Inc. takes over PL
Summer 1990 -- Redwood Summer protests
Jan. 1997 -- Mudslide from PL land swamps town of Stafford
Fall 1997 -- Activists pepper sprayed during protests
Dec. 1997 -- Julia Butterfly Hill begins tree-sit above Stafford
Sept. 1998 -- David “Gypsy” Chain killed by tree felled by logger
March 1999 -- PL sells Headwaters Forest, groves to government for $480 million
Jan. 2007 -- PL files for bankruptcy in Texas
June 2008 -- Bankruptcy Judge Richard Schmidt approves Mendocino Redwood plan for PL
July 30, 2008 -- Mendocino begins rebuilding PL as Humboldt Redwood Co. and Marathon Investments takes over the town, the co~generation plant and other properties.

The mill will continue with a new name and new management. It is a new beginning that holds great promise for the community as sustainable logging practices are implemented. The collective sigh of relief is heard and felt by all concerned. There will be some that will not be hired by the new company but most of the workers will soon return to their jobs with a feeling of security that has been missing over the last few years.

The new Town Company met with the residents and business owners in a Town meeting yesterday and answered some questions regarding the town's future. They made it clear that they will be making improvements and proceeding with the steps necessary to sell the homes. In the meantime the workers and others like us will continue to rent. For some, the opportunity will come for them to purchase their homes. Some will want to do so and others will decide to move. Some will be unable to buy and eventually have to look for rental options elsewhere.

The affordable rents close to work will be gone. It is a shame, but hopefully, as the changes are made, the nature of the town will not be completely lost and it's charm will somehow be retained. The representatives of the company did seem to understand that part of their new acquisition at least in so much as it applies to the bottom line. The small town community, the stability of the workers, the infrastructure, the parks and museum and churches are all important to the people and therefore important assets toward the future sale of the homes.

145 years. The name of the mill and possibly the town will change and the town will not be company owned but it will not become another ghost town. The Mill will hopefully continue on under it's new owners and management for many generations to come. I won't be alive to see it but I sincerely hope that 145 years from now someone will be writing about the wonderful success of a little mill in Humboldt county and the thriving little community surrounding it.

On the up side, it should take 2-4 years for them to make the necessary changes and cut through the endless red tape before they can sell the homes. For us that means that we will have 1 or both cars paid off and if it takes the full 4 years we would be in a better position to purchase...IF... and the list of IFs is a long one!

Who knows, I may even get to plant a few tomatoes next year and live to taste them!

links to stories done in the past concerning Scotia,_California

And for a laugh: Check out this table made from reclaimed lumber from one of the old mills. Note the asking price and realize that this same old wood is present in every old building and house in town and the same reclaimed wood I used as a compost bin at the apartment. So what will these old pieces of history sell for as homes?