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Idaho Forest Group to buy Clearwater’s Lewiston sawmill

Clearwater Paper Corp. will sell its Lewiston sawmill to Idaho Forest Group of Coeur d’Alene for $30 million.

Clearwater said it expects tough market conditions to persist in the lumber industry, and that the mill now will be operated by a company whose core focus is timber. About 250 employees learned Oct. 26 they will receive two months of severance pay and can eventually apply for jobs with Idaho Forest Group as it decides how many employees it will hire.

Production at the sawmill will wind down over the next few weeks and employees have said it will close on Nov. 11. IFG plans to take ownership of the mill and its assets before the end of the year.

Some employees plan early retirement, others say they’ll apply to work for IFG and some are looking at options including going to college.

Ron Teigen, who represents the union that has a contract with Clearwater Paper, could not be reached immediately. IFG President Scott Atkinson also could not be reached.

Clearwater Paper spokesman Matt Van Vleet said the company employs about 1,600 at its Lewiston complex. About 1,350 will remain, as the transaction with Idaho Forest Group does not affect pulp and paper manufacturing operations.

The companies entered a long-term agreement whereby Idaho Forest Group will supply chips and sawdust to Clearwater Paper’s pulp mill. The transaction includes the sawmill, planer mill, dry kilns and related assets, log and finished-goods inventories, and timber under contract.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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