Bear Creek Lumber

Quality. Value. Expertise. Since 1977

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Volume 16 Number 7
July 2002
Bear Creek Lumber will be closed
July 4th and 5th
Click Here to Download the PDF Version of this Newsletter (147 kb)

Despite Industry Scarcity, Bear Creek Still Has Plenty In Stock
Cedar lumber is harder to find. Tariffs placed on many Canadian lumber products have forced some milled to close, and many cedar suppliers, who were working off “just in time” inventories, are scrambling to find supplies.
Bear Creek Lumber has a stout inventory of cedar products and plenty of connections, from a variety of locations, to keep a full line of those products in stock, at least for the summer. Buyers may want to purchase products sooner rather than later, in case shortages worsen.
Bear Creek Lumber can store your purchase on site, here at the lumberyard, until you are ready for delivery.
Call us at (800) 597-7191, or e-mail: , for more information.

Western Red Cedar Products available from Bear Creek Lumber

Grades (All Products)
Exterior siding
Fascia, soffit
Interior paneling
Exposed ceiling T&G Roofing, sidewall shingles
Posts, timbers and beams Fencing
Vertical Grain Clear
A & Btr. Clear
D & Btr. Clear
Patio Clear
Select Knotty
Standard and Better Select Structural
All grades of shakes/shingles
T&G; S4S; S1S2E
Rabbeted /Wavy Edge Bevel
Channel; Pattern 105; Edge and Center Bead
Log cabin siding; Board and batt
Fancy cut shingles; Hand split shakes
All cedar available in smooth, resawn or rough cut
Freight questions, suggestions? Email:
Freight: Moving On and Moving Up
After almost five years, our freight manager, Bennet Upper has left the company for new challenges. In his place, another Bear Creek Lumber employee has stepped in. James Witkowski started at Bear Creek Lumber as a sales assistant after moving to the Methow Valley from California. His computer abilities led him to work with the company network systems, and he took the position of network administrator after a year. From there, he expanded his range, and became the backup to the freight manager, as well as the inventory control advisor. He also became an administrative assistant to the sales manager. With this background, it was easy for him to assume the managerial position in freight when Bennet left.
James hopes to further modernize the freight department by instigating email prompts to customers about when their wood ships, as well as a posted freight schedule on the company website. While these changes may not occur overnight, James looks forward to a streamlined,and web friendly, freight department by the end of the year.

Women in Construction: An Untapped Resource?
Why aren’t more woman attracted to construction? Is it too dirty, too physically demanding, or too hostile? In Washington State only 4 percent of 109,041 total workers in the skilled trades are women. According to the Washington State Employment Security Department statistics, 2.7 percent of the total are carpenters. Nationwide, the statistics are even lower with only 2 percent of all skilled trade jobs are being filled by women. The Washington State Apprenticeship and Training Council’s 1998, annual apprentice report listed 13,322 apprentices as being indentured in 1998 and of them 1,834 (or 14 percent) were women. Yet women represent half the country’s workforce.
In 1998, the Associated General Contractors of Washington Northern District office conducted a survey of local high school students regarding the construction job image. When asked the question, “How would you describe a construction worker?” , the largest perception was negative. Statements such as these workers “whoop and holler at women, look at the chicks, harass women...” were common.
One of the recommendations made to the industry, from the students, was to advertise to show the positive side of construction, saying it’s time to change the stereotypes, and accentuate what the construction has to offer women entering the trades. Good pay, job benefits, and a chance to do physical outdoor work, are major selling points to the modern woman.
Customer Comment
I ordered cedar siding through Mark at your company. He was very helpful, followed up on my inquiry, provided all required information and then some, took my order and fully explained shipping, and what I should expect. Today I received my shipment in record time. The material quality is exactly what I had hoped it would be, and far better than I would have received from a local lumber yard.
Your company, and especially Mark, is great. I certainly will use Bear Creek again.
Thank you, Ed H. - Murray UT
Remembering Mr. Eddy
It has been one year since conservative timber man Garrett Eddy passed. The former president, and chairmen, of Port Blakely Tree Farms in Seattle was a pioneer in tree research and in making logging more environmentally sensitive. Mr. Eddy died July 4th in Seattle after a long battle with lung cancer. He was 85. Mr. Eddy served as president of Port Blakely from 1952 until 1980, and as chairmen of its board from 1981 to 1996.
During the 1940’s and 1950’s, Mr. Eddy was one of the pioneers in research in thinning tree stands, or cutting down some trees so others can grow bigger, said Jim Warjone, chairman and chief executive of officer of the company.
Garrett Eddy believed it was possible to have a viable forest industry, while at the same time maintaining and conserving biodiversity, said Neal Wilkins, a wildlife biologist with the company until 1998.
Jay Hair, former president of the National Wildlife Federation and the World Conservation Union, was so impressed by Port Blakely’s policies that he joined the company’s board in January.
“They have been as environmentally responsible, and friendly, a company as any in North America,” Hair said. “Garrett Eddy’s greatest legacy is the values of conservation and sustainable development that the company continues to reflect. He was an environmentalist before we knew what the word environmentalist meant.”

Industry News
Cedar Troubles Hit Small Town Hard
After 35 years in this small Lewis County town, a global trade dispute threatens to do what a recession could not -- strip Winlock, Washington of a leading employer. The move would represent yet another blow to a town that once lived by the timber industry.
Shakertown Inc. is threatening to move 48 jobs, along with its $12 million in annual sales, to Canada. The company says pending tariffs will make it unprofitable to import the Canadian cedar it needs to create shake siding at the mill. Welcome to the front lines in the latest free-trade battle, the fight over whether Canadian softwood lumber is subsidized.
On one side, the United States has slapped 27 percent duties on Canadian lumber. On the other side, Canada threatens to challenge the move before the World Trade Organization. Shakertown is caught in the middle, arguing that it can't afford the soon-to-be expensive Canadian Western red cedar and can't locate a decent supply in the United States. The quandary may force the 1,200 residents of Winlock to pay the heftiest price, the loss of jobs in a town that can ill afford more pink slips.
Shakertown executives say the proposed tariffs would boost costs by $1 million a year, and they can't absorb the increase. They may pull out by the end of the year, if Canada and the United States can't settle their differences, or they can't secure special treatment.
Winlock is not a ghost town. It still supports the Cedar Village grocery, restaurants and even multiple hair salons. But the car dealership and movie theater are gone, and storefronts stand empty on its main street.
The town's economic troubles are evident in local paychecks. The average wage, as calculated by unemployment insurance, in Lewis County plummeted from 95 percent of the statewide average in 1970 to 72 percent of the average last year, according to the state Employment Security Department.
"We have been losing timber-related jobs and agriculture-related jobs. They have been getting replaced by part-time retail, trade, and service positions," said William Lotto, executive director of the Lewis County Economic Development Council. Shakertown's exit threatens to accelerate that trend, killing as many as 90 jobs inside, and outside, its walls, Lotto said. While 90 jobs may not seem like a lot, those positions represent more than 20 percent of Winlock's estimated 400 workers, Lotto added.
"The essential thing that happens in these towns is that nothing happens. You don't get the new employer that comes in to replace the old employer," said Chris Johnson, a Tacoma-based economist for the state Employment Security Department.
Shakertown isn't alone in its predicament. Over 100 other cedar manufacturers around the country face a similar quandary. U.S. Western red cedar businesses hope the United States and Canada address their concerns when the nations finally settle their differences. However, negotiators haven't scheduled new talks, and aren't expected to resolve the issue until late this year, at the earliest, said Kellie Daniels, executive director of the U.S. Red Cedar Manufacturers Association.
Excerpted from the Seattle Post-Inteligencer May 2002
Other news...
Housing construction - which started off the year with a bang - declined in April for the second month in a row, a sign the building sector may be losing some steam. Construction of single-family homes dipped by 2 percent in April to a rate of 1.27 million units. That followed a steep 12 percent decline the month before. Work on multifamily housing, including apartments and condos, fell 11.5 percent last month to a rate of 261,000. That compared with a 8.1 percent rise in March. By region, housing starts plunged by 24.1 percent in the Northeast to a rate of 126,000. In the Midwest, they plummeted 19.5 percent to a rate of 276,000. In the West, housing construction fell 5.8 percent to a rate of 377,000. But in the South, starts rose 5.6 percent to a rate of 776,000.
Even with the slowdown in home construction, analysts predict the sector will continue to be healthy.
Relatively low mortgage rates and solid housing appreciation make purchasing a home an attractive investment. Mortgage rates have been hovering below the 7 percent mark, providing prospective home buyers with good financing conditions. In May, the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.79 percent, according to Freddie Mac, the mortgage company. Against this backdrop "builders have every reason for continued optimism about their sales prospects," said Gary Garczynski, president of the National Association of Home Builders

Editor: Ela Bannick Feature Writer: Sage Bannick