It was a ray of light in the middle of a storm. Last Friday's announcement that Georgia-Pacific will add 110 high-paying jobs at its Wauna paper mill would be great news in any season. It is especially heartening as the national economy slows.
The Wauna mill is Clatsop County's largest employer, with some 1,000 jobs. It has been a major factor in our economy since its creation around 1960. Crown Zellerbach built the mill. After a hostile takeover, the mill was owned by the James River Co. Following a merger, it became the property of Fort James. And now it is owned by Georgia-Pacific. James River in particular worked to reduce emissions from the mill into the Columbia River.
We easily lose sight of how important natural resources-based enterprise is to this county's economy and its tax base. The collective employment base of Georgia-Pacific, the Weyerhaeuser Co, various independent loggers and the fishing and fish processing industries is quite considerable. Their contribution to the budgets of various school districts, county government and the Port of Astoria as well as Clatsop Community College is substantial.