LLOYD ALLEN started in the logging business in Oregon in 1937, he was just out of high school and he began delivering fir to Scappoose. He was eventually attracted to the Olympic Peninsula by the abundant supply of hemlock.
Eventually, Allen moved his logging operation to Quinault and later to the Burn area on the West End after the big Forks Fire of 1951. Allen’s Mill has been at its present location since 1955, starting out as strictly a logging operation.
In 1958 the veneer building was added and reload and sorting of logs began in 1964. In 1969 the sawmill operations were started.
During the 1960s the mill mainly used two logging companies Koidahl Logging and Spoelstra Bros. Logging. During that time, timber processed in the mill was purchased from State sales.
In 1969 five million board feet of timber went through the mill. At that time the mill employed 76 people. One of the great features of the mill operation was nothing went to waste right down to the smallest wood chip, it had a purpose.
Lloyd Allen passed away in July 2012.
In a conversation with Gerry Lane, General Manager at Allen Logging Company, on Tuesday morning, Lane said Allen’s Mill will close in about 3 weeks. Lane said, “We plan to process the current log inventory until we run out.”
“We will continue to sell the lumber until it is gone.”
Allen’s currently employs 45 people, including mill workers, watchmen and truck drivers.
“The current log situation is so sad, you can’t buy a predictable supply of marketable logs. We are seeing the same thing as Interfor and the Simpson Mills that recently closed.” Lane added Lane went on to say, ” It is just a sign of the times, a strong U.S. dollar gives Canadians incentive to import which puts log exports at a disadvantage.”
“The biggest issue is the Forest Service and DNR programs are failing to meet demand.”
Lane has been with the mill over 40 years.
Over the years Allen Logging and Mill have provided a substantial payroll to the community. In addition to providing jobs, Allen’s has been a supporter of so many community events including the annual Scholarship Auction.
Not only will the closure affect those employed at the mill it will also be felt elsewhere.
Bob Stark, owner of True Value, said he purchases his lumber at Allen’s because he can buy a small quantity for his lumber yard in Forks. “I will have to drive somewhere now,” he said ” like to Tacoma or somewhere, well really, I don’t know what I am going to do.”
The Mill also played a key role in the Forks Chamber of Commerce Logging and Mill tours. Over the years, the tours have helped educate tourists to our area on the real story of logging. The loss of this component will really be felt.
Lane said, “I just want to say something about our crew, a lot of them have been here a long time, our closing is in no way a reflection on their performance.”
The mill closing is truly the end of an era…..