Local sawmill cuts hours due to COVID-19

Collins Sawmill in Lakeview is going to three days a week due to a downturn in orders.

With COVID-19 shutting down large parts of the economy, the impact in Lakeview has been mostly felt by restaurants and bars as they are limited to take-out and delivery; now another aspect of the local economy is taking a hit as workers at the Collins Lakeview sawmill will now only be at work three days a week for eight hour work days.

The reduced hours at Collins is part of the larger countrywide economic slowdown, as companies move operations to tele-commuting, and large segments of the population sheltering at home waiting for the current crisis to blow over.

In an email from Collins Company President and CEO Eric Schooler the slowdown in production does not have an end date, and will continue for the foreseeable future; at the minimum when people start ordering product once more, and building of new homes starts up again.

While sawmills like the one in Lakeview were declared essential business, and allowed to operate at full capacity during the shutdown, Schooler noted that they need customers.

“But we need customers. Many, maybe most are curtailed or shutdown due to the virus or declaration. Customers cannot build or manufacture from home. And those not asked to stay home do not have the confidence to invest for now,” Schooler said in an email statement.

At this time no employees have been laid off from the Lakeview sawmill, they will just be working 24-hours per week. Schooler did not respond if furloughs or layoffs would happen if the crisis continued longer than anticipation. He also did not specify when the sawmill would ramp up to full production.

Collins joins other lumber companies across Oregon either cutting hours of operation, shutting down mills, or laying off workers as orders from customers stop coming in.

For more information contact the Collins Company Lakeview sawmill at 541-947-2018.

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