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2024 Montana Primary elections

Business, government leaders seek new buyer to save one of western Montana's sawmills

Roseburg Forest Products
Roseburg Forest Products
Roseburg Forest Products plant in Missoula, MT.

More than 30 business leaders and government officials met in Missoula Friday to discuss ways to keep western Montana’s wood products industry afloat after two sawmills announced closures last month. There are potential buyers for one of the mills.

Pyramid Mountain Lumber in Seeley Lake and Roseburg Forest Products in Missoula have both said they would soon shut down. But, following Friday’s meeting discussing the closures, local economic leaders said they’re optimistic one of the plants might stay open.

Grant Kier leads the Missoula Economic Partnership and helped organize the meeting. He said representatives from potential buyers interested in purchasing Pyramid Mountain Lumber were in attendance.

“I am more hopeful right now than I was a few weeks ago and I think if there’s a place in the world that’s going to save a mill, it’s going to be western Montana and Seeley Lake,” Kier told MTPR following the meeting.

Missoula County Commissioner Josh Slotnick told MTPR the federal government floated the idea of helping buyers secure $40 to $60 million in financing to modernize the sawmill. Slotnick said those upgrades could help the labor-strapped mill function with fewer workers.

The Missoula Economic Partnership did not allow MTPR or other members of the press to observe the meeting. Organization head Grant Kier said that was done to protect the privacy of the parties interested in purchasing the mill.

Kier said the group also discussed ways to help workers displaced by Roseburg Forest Products’ closure transition to new careers.

Austin graduated from the University of Montana’s journalism program in May 2022. He came to MTPR as an evening newscast intern that summer, and jumped at the chance to join full-time as the station’s morning voice in Fall 2022.

He is best reached by emailing austin.amestoy@umt.edu.
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