Opinion

Valley's logging era is at an end

Last week's news that Weyerhaeuser Co. was closing the remaining sections of the Snoqualmie mill came as no surprise. Unfortunately, it was a prediction I had made in a previous editorial, with a shorter time frame than I originally expected.

But the news still came as a last reminder that this community once thrived as a logging town. Snoqualmie will always be remembered as a place where log trucks rolled frequently through town; where the shift whistle blew several times a day and where steam and towering smoke stacks rose above the trees.

The logging era in the Valley is officially coming to an end. The scenes of striped shirts, cork boots, suspenders and hard hats will be gone forever. Few, if any, log trucks will grace our community parades.

But we do have memories, and for those fortunate enough to remember all these things, it will always be a logging town.

I was amazed that as the news broke, the first places many news-gathering types went to were local taverns or the Eagles Hall in Snoqualmie. I guess they haven't figured out that the stereotypical logger is long gone. Maybe they should have called them at home, where they may have been talking with their families, trying to figure out what to do next.

The last of our Weyerhaeuser employees are joining the list of the unemployed in Washington state that is growing daily. We are moving from a society that used to make things to one that merely provides services. Unfortunately, those manufacturing are now in other countries, selling to us. But at some point, as our jobs become strictly service-oriented and wages fall, we will no longer be able to buy the goods we want or need. It appears to be a vicious cycle with no end in sight.

I hope the state or federal government steps in to provide retraining services for the future unemployed Weyerhaeuser employees. It seems if we can rattle our sabers for war, we sure as heck can spend a few dollars here at home to help the unemployed.

Maybe we will get lucky and someone will buy the mill and return logging to our area. That direction seems muddy at best right now, but it is a hope. If not, it is likely Weyerhaeuser will develop the land into some kind of industrial park. After all, growth management has assured that there are fewer industrial areas in east King County.

To all those facing the end of their Weyerhaeuser careers, we are thinking of you and hope your career directions turn for the better.

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