Mill town no more

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SNOQUALMIE - As a boy, Pat Busby used to cut through the train yard of the lumber mill just outside of Snoqualmie to get to the Snoqualmie Falls Community Center. He and his friends would crawl underneath the train cars and race up the stairs to the center that was so beloved, Snoqualmie residents are currently trying to build a $9 million community center on its memory.

Like most Valley children in the 1950s and the decades before it, Busby's life was centered around the Weyerhaeuser Co. mill. There was really no other way of living.

"When you heard that whistle blow, you knew something had happened - whether it was starting time, or lunch time or if someone got hurt," said Busby, who has worked for Weyerhaeuser for most of the last 40 years. "We set our clocks to it."

Busby will be taking those memories along with him when he is laid off sometime after the start of next year. On Tuesday, Oct. 22, the Federal Way-based company announced it would close its Snoqualmie finishing and planing mill by the end of March.

Similar news was heard in Enumclaw, where a mill and a regional office are going to be shut down as well. The neighboring White River Tree Farm was sold to the Boston-based Hancock Timber Resource Group.

The news about the mill closure was not a complete surprise to employees, but it was still painful to a community that was built on its past success.

"It seemed like it would be here almost forever," Busby said.

For the complete story, pick up a copy of this weeks Valley Record

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