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Freres Lumber Looks To The Future With Production Of Mass-Plywood Panels

While heavy rains were pelting Santiam Canyon Thursday afternoon, Jan. 18, there was a warm bustle of activity at one brightly-lit site between Lyons and Mill City.

Albany Eastern Railroad pulled into a rail stall. Representatives from a German manufacturer were fine-tuning equipment inside a covered, 4-acre plant. Employees of Freres Lumber worked with the visitors in a month-old mill to test tools ready to crank out an innovative product.

It’s been a busy year for the 95-year-old Freres Lumber Company: the construction of one mill; a blazing destruction of a drying facility, which was promptly rebuilt and is back in operation; and the marketing of a new product, Mass Plywood Panel. “This past year has been a trial for all of us,” Tyler Freres, the company’s vice president of sales, said as workers eddied around him tending to tasks, tackling everything from computer inputs to judicial placements of mass-panel resins.

The new Mass Plywood Panel plant grew from conception to a running entity in roughly 2 ½ years, including meeting an ambitious construction timeline. “We broke ground in March of 2017, and we had our first panel out in December of 2017,” Freres said, “And, of course, there was that fire in between.”

He saluted the busy crew scattered around the facility. “We couldn’t have done it without these guys,” he said. “Overall, it’s complicated to figure out all the details in a new plant, and these guys have been able to figure it out. It’s not as easy as it sounds.”

From the Statesman Journal:

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