West Linn Paper Company will close after 128 years

'Unforeseeable events' led to reduction in pulp, forcing city's only industrial business to close

A staple of West Linn's business community for 128 years, the West Linn Paper Company will shut its doors after unexpected events led to a reduction in pulp supply. (West Linn Tidings)

PORTLAND, Ore. (West Linn Tidings) — West Linn Paper Company, the city’s sole industrial business and a staple of the community for 128 years, is shutting its doors.

The company announced Monday, Oct. 16, in a press release that is ceasing operations and “will commence a winding up of its business” on a timetable that has yet to be specified.

In 2016, the company said it had 250 employees.

“We are deeply disappointed to end the mill’s 128-year history, the last 20 of which resulted from a major restructuring and restart when our current ownership took control of West Linn Paper Company,” Chief Operating Officer Brian Konen said in a statement. “The commitment and support that we received from our employees, our lenders and our owners as we sought to adapt to structural changes in our markets has been remarkable. However, several unforeseeable events have led to a significant reduction in available pulp, making continued operations impossible.”

Konen added that the company will begin winding down its operations immediately. Orders for stock products will still be accepted as the company shuts operations down, and orders that have been produced but not yet shipped will also be honored according to the release. Manufacturing orders that have been produced but not shipped will be reviewed and customers will be notified of their status. No new manufacturing orders will be accepted.

Calls to West Linn Paper were not immediately returned.

In a text message, West Linn Mayor Russ Axelrod expressed sadness about the news.

“I immediately called Brian Konen and (West Linn Paper Environmental Manager) Penny Machinski,” Axelrod said, noting he was only able to reach Machinski. “I let them know how sorry we were about the news and especially for any hardship for workers and their families. Also said the city was here to help in any way possible.”

The West Linn Tidings is a KOIN 6 News media partner.

The mill as seen in 1896, when it was known as the Crown Paper Mill. (Courtesy of the Clackamas Historical Society via Pamplin Media)