SPRINGFIELD, Ore. (From news reports) -- Roseburg Forest Products announced Friday (April 14) that it planned to invest $700 million over the next four years to upgrade and expand its manufacturing operations in Southern Oregon, where the company was founded nearly 90 years ago.
The investment includes the creation of two new, state-of-the-art manufacturing plants, and technological improvements and upgrades at existing plants in rural Douglas and Coos counties.
The total project represents the largest known investment in manufacturing in rural Oregon, and one of the largest private capital investments of any kind in the state's history, according to the company's press release.
"Across the business, Roseburg is embracing advanced manufacturing and leveraging new technology and methods to make our current products and develop new ones, with the goal of ensuring we remain competitive in the global market," Roseburg President and CEO Grady Mulbery said. "I want to thank our partners at the Governor's office and Douglas and Coos counties for helping make this historic investment possible."
Nearly 200 people gathered at the Douglas County Fairgrounds for the announcement.
In attendance were Allyn Ford, Roseburg's owner and board chairman, and representatives of the state and county agencies who worked with Roseburg on the project.
Dillard MDF will use wood residuals from Roseburg's local mills and other regional mill suppliers to manufacture standard medium density fiberboard (MDF) panels, as well as thin high density fiberboard (HDF), often used in cabinetry, doors, and other applications, the company explained. The plant will produce panels with a thickness range from 2 mm to 28 mm.
"HDF is a new product for Roseburg that meets growing customer demand for domestically manufactured panels of increasing thinness and strength," Mulbery said. "Dillard MDF will be one of the most technologically advanced plants of its kind in the world, and it alone represents $450 million of our $700 million investment."
Dillard Components will convert specialty MDF panels manufactured at Roseburg's MDF plant in Medford, Ore., into Armorite™ Trim, a finished exterior trim product for residential and shed use.
"This is an innovative, new product currently unavailable within the industry or market," the company stated. "Roseburg will invest roughly $50 million in this plant."
The two plants together will be capable of producing the following:
- MDF panels: 175 million square feet per year on a 3/4-inch basis, or 310,000 cubic meters per year
- Primed Armorite™ exterior trim: 70 million square feet per year on a 3/4-inch basis, or 124,000 cubic meters per year
- Interior molding: 90 million feet per year
MDF is an engineered wood product made from softwood residuals combined with wax and resin and formed into panels. It is denser than plywood, and stronger and denser than particleboard. HDF is a thinner, denser version of MDF. Roseburg currently owns and operates three MDF plants in North America.
The company anticipates that both new plants will begin operations in 2025, and will employ approximately 120 people once completed.
- Significant upgrades at our plywood plant in Riddle, Ore., including two new lathe lines and a new hardwood plywood line
- A new dryer at our plywood plant in Coquille, Ore.
"These operations are all key parts of our integrated platform in Oregon, starting with our timberlands, and including our primary processing plants making lumber and plywood, as well as our secondary plants that use wood residuals like sawdust and chips to make value-added products such as MDF, ensuring the full utilization of our precious timber resource," Roseburg's Director of Government Affairs Eric Geyer said.
In June 2022, Roseburg revealed that it was exploring the feasibility of locating an additional MDF plant or other residual-based operation within its Western operating footprint. That study, combined with a years-long strategic assessment of company operations across the state, resulted in the decision to make this investment in Southern Oregon, where the company was founded in 1936.
"Not only are we proud of our long history in this region, but our focus on advanced manufacturing and innovative technology makes us an excellent fit for the future of Oregon's manufacturing sector as well," Mulbery said. "Our use of robotics, computer programming, and other advanced manufacturing tools aligns Roseburg with the high-tech evolution of manufacturing in this state."