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While we argue, the trees grow

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It was a joyful day in Omak. On Monday the long-shuttered Colville tribal veneer mill was officially reopened, with due pomp and ceremony and the official blessing of Gov. Jay Inslee. It is leased to Wood Resources LLC, which has hired 87 people and expects to hire over 100 more. The mill where hundreds once earned their livelihood, that went dark in the dark days of recession, is now revived. The natural fibrous growth of the Colville tribal forests will be processed there to produce the raw material of plywood, which is the raw material of the houses, which is where we live. The value added will produce profit, which produces wages, which will enrich a community. Not a bad deal.

Wood is a natural resource. Managed by human beings, it is also an agricultural product. It grows. There is more and more of it every day. With care it can be harvested and transformed into the products we all need and use. Demand is rising. The Puget Sound Business Journal reports that West Coast structural lumber production climbed 11.8 percent just in the first two months of this year. Weyerhaeuser Corp., reported net earnings of $144 million in the first quarter and its lumber operations are running at 90 percent of capacity. They make use of the harvest, and the beauty is, trees grow back.

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