August 2021-The Economic Report

Planning Underway for YMCA Project at Mineral Lake

YMCA of Greater Seattle and Nisqually Indian Tribe Collaborate on New Overnight Camp and Environmental Education Center 

Mineral Lake is the site of a planned YMCA project. 

By Lewis Economic Development Council

 The YMCA of Greater Seattle and the Nisqually Indian Tribe are joining forces to create a new overnight camp on land adjacent to Mineral Lake in rural Lewis County. 

In addition to a traditional camp offering youth and families from the local area and throughout Washington access to hiking, swimming, canoeing, arts and crafts, archery and other outdoor activities, the YMCA, in collaboration with the Tribe, plans to develop other programs to build awareness and appreciation of the natural environment and cultural history of the area. According to a press release. Plans call for the collaboration to establish an environmental education center to educate young people on the area’s dynamic ecosystem; provide the Tribe with expanded access to camp facilities and land for cultural and traditional uses; and develop joint programming for Native American youth and families. 

“Youth and families throughout Lewis County would benefit from this camp and from a community-focused organization such as the YMCA,” said Richard DeBolt, Executive Director of the Lewis Economic Development Council. “It is encouraging to see new opportunities like this grow and take shape throughout Lewis County. The EDC is always focused on new ventures that improve the local quality of life, and we believe this project aligns with that goal. We look forward to watching this project take shape.”

The YMCA is in the process of applying for permits from Lewis County to begin developing the property. A Notice of Application has been approved by Lewis County with public comments opportunities starting in September or October.

The YMCA’s camping and outdoor leadership programming is designed to give youth and families access to high-quality environmental opportunities. Longtime and oversubscribed overnight camps run by the YMCA, Camp Orkila on Orcas Island, and Camp Colman on the Key Peninsula, have primarily focused on water-based experiences. The Mineral Lake collaboration will diversify the YMCA’s outdoor offerings by providing not only water-based activities, but also mountain-based experiences and education.

As original stewards of the land, the Nisqually Tribe’s participation will provide an essential link to the history and values of the Native American Tribes of the Pacific Northwest that will be incorporated into programming.

“Camping and outdoor experiences provide critically important tools for youth and families to grow individually and together,” said YMCA President and CEO Loria Yeadon. “This is the YMCA’s first new overnight camp and outdoor education center in over 100 years. As we begin to envision this new center to meet the needs of the growing population of Washington, we are thrilled to collaborate with the Nisqually Tribe and look forward to being a part of the Lewis County community. Our goal is to have both the camp and the environmental education center honor the history of the land while serving as national models of collaboration in both design and programming.”

The partnership will provide Nisqually Tribal members with expanded access to berries, roots, and other native plants for spiritual retreats and vision quests and will offer opportunities for game and bird hunting to fulfill cultural and traditional experiences. The Tribe plans to help build the next generation of stewards of this land by working directly with the YMCA to develop programming and curriculum for Tribal families and by providing the Tribe access to the camp’s facilities. 

“We are excited to collaborate with the Seattle YMCA to purchase these lands to protect, restore, and teach future campers about Nisqually and our lands,” said Willie Frank III, Nisqually Tribal Council. “These lands are sacred to us and to have access again to this area for our traditional purposes is amazing. We are also energized to partner with them to create a Native American program and environmental education center to share our ways and to protect mother earth for the seventh generation. We also recognize that the more people know about our natural world the more likely they are to protect it. Education is absolutely the key to our future.”

“We are committed to being both good stewards of the land and an asset to the local community,” said Yeadon. “We look forward to working with local officials and local residents to bring this center to fruition for the benefit of youth, families, and community.”

Plans for further development and programming are in the early stages, but the YMCA hopes to offer backpacking and tent camping programs on site as early as the summer of 2022. Eventually, the camp is expected to include some permanent structures, such as a dining lodge, bathrooms, cabins, and staff housing. Full build-out of the camp and environmental education center is expected to take five-ten years.

About the YMCA of Seattle

The YMCA of Greater Seattle is a leading nonprofit organization strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. Founded in 1876, the Y reaches more than 265,000 people of all backgrounds, abilities, and financial circumstances annually through 14 branches, two overnight camps, and more than 200 program sites throughout King and south Snohomish counties. The Y nurtures more than 137,000 kids and teens to develop their gifts and give back to our community and engages thousands of volunteers who contribute hundreds of thousands of hours of service each year. Visit 

About the Nisqually Indian Tribe

The Nisqually Indian Tribe is signatory to the Treaty of Medicine Creek of 1854 and retained its fishing, hunting, cultural and traditional uses of the lands in the Nisqually watershed. The Tribe is a sovereign government providing critical services to its membership including health, education, and protection of its treaty rights. Fishing and hunting are central to the culture and traditions of the Tribe and the lands in and around the Mineral Lake area have been utilized by the Tribe and its members since time immemorial. 

Metal Processing Company Relocates to Centralia

Move From Renton Will Bring In About 60 Jobs to Hub City

By Lewis Economic Development Council

Ryerson Holding Corporation, taking advantage of close proximity to Interstate 5 and a central location for its West Region operations serving Idaho, Oregon and Washington, is relocating its Renton plant to a new facility in Centralia. 

The move will bring in about 60 employees to the Hub City with its 215,000-square-foot facility at 3010 Harrison Avenue. The site will be used to ship orders and also to process metal, including aluminum, stainless steel and carbon steel. Initial site development started this week. The new building should be ready for business likely in the third quarter of 2022. The company will start taking in local applications this fall in anticipation of starting to hire in the second quarter of 2022. Jobs will be filled with both existing employees from the Renton facility that is set for closure and also from the local labor market. 

Ryerson processes and distributes metal products and is one of the largest metal suppliers with operations in the United States, Mexico, Canada and China, and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Started in 1842 in Chicago, the company now has an extensive network of warehouses, service centers and facilities to serve all metal needs. Today Ryersonhas about 100 similar facilities across the United States and Mexico. 

Steven Bosway, Ryerson’s West Region President, said key to its decision to relocate is a positive experience with Centralia and Lewis County government cooperation. 

“It has been very positive during this process,” Bosway said. “Every person we’ve worked with has been positive.” 

The relocation to Centralia was prompted by a slow and steady move of its customers from the Seattle area to

Portland, with about 65 percent of clients locating south of Seattle.

“Logistically this new site gives us a better advantage to serve our customers in Oregon, Washington and Idaho,” he said. 

Bosway said Lewis Economic Development Council External Relations Manager Eric Sonnenberg was helpful in the process.

“Eric was helpful in understanding the ins and outs of the county and he knows the city,” Bosway said. “Eric was the catalyst to bring all the attendees to the groundbreaking (earlier this month).”

Lewis Economic Development Council Executive Director Richard DeBolt welcomes the relocated business to Centralia.

“Centralia and all of Lewis County is starting to get the attention of businesses from outside of Southwest Washington. The LEDC is proud to be part of the relocation of Ryerson and the 60 jobs will just add to our growing economic base.”

Bosway said Ryerson is well positioned for continued growth. So far 2021 has been a solid year for the company and 2022 appears to continue with that positive trend.

“We’re excited to be coming to Centralia,” Bosway said.

A Ryerson employee measures a product coming out of one of its processing machines.

Property Spotlight — For Lease

30,000 square foot building • Northstar Road

Electricity: Lewis County PUD

25,000 square foot warehouse/manufacturing space

5,000 square foot office space

3,750 square foot mezzanine (storage, light manufacturing, office)

12,000 square foot canopy

45,750 square foot total

24 foot eave height

8 overhead doors of 14’x16’

2 overhead doors of 20’x16’

1 glass overhead door of 12’x12’

For information on this property and others available throughout Lewis County (or to list your industrial/commercial property for sale), contact Lewis Economic Development Council External Relations Manager Eric Sonnenberg at 208.206.5407 or eric@lewisedc.com, or go to lewisedc.com.

Director’s Corner Covid Continues to Drive Supply Chain Disruptions

 By Richard DeBolt 

Lewis Economic Development Council Executive Director 

 Plenty of economic activity continues to flow to Lewis County, despite difficulties in hiring competent employees and supply chain disruptions. 

The pandemic is continuing to drag down local economies as businesses and even nonprofit charities are suffering from supply chain disruption and the lack of quality employees. 

The latter is expected to ease as extended state and federal unemployment payments are set to expire the first week of September. One general manager of an area business said he started to see a rise in applications this past month, due likely to people starting to get ready for the end of their unemployment payments. One thing is sure — plenty of jobs are ready and waiting for quality, motivated workers. 

As far as supply chain disruptions, a survey by the Economic Intelligence Unit of 175 supply chain managers revealed the automotive sector was hit hard due to a shortage of semiconductors. Other industry sectors suffering from disruptions include footwear and apparel, food and beverage and manufacturers. 

Central to the disruptions is the Covid virus limiting the distribution of global goods as many countries shut down their borders, close workplaces and limit exports. The pandemic also had several industries slowing down their production when the virus hit in March of 2020. Lumber mills, for example, slowed down their production. When the economy (before Delta) started to come back, the mills lagged behind as start ups take both time and money. The cost of lumber skyrocketed, but in recent months has dropped to more reasonable levels as production opens up. Until Covid gets somewhat under control (the Delta variant has been quickly spreading, including into Lewis County), expect supply disruptions to linger. 

Thankfully, Lewis County with its central location and leadership supportive of the business community, continues to attract cmpanies looking to relocate and also to open new opportunities. 

Two such businesses are profiled at left. Ryerson Holding Corporation is relocating to Centralia. Keys to the relocation are both the central location for the West Region of the business, as well as a welcoming attitude by area business leaders and politicians. 

Also coming to Lewis County is a YMCA outdoor camp located at Mineral Lake. The county’s vast wilderness attractions such as the lake, mountains and plenty of open spaces, add to our county’s appeal. 

LEDC Golf Tournament and Annual Banquet Our first ever golf tournament, set for Sept. 17, is filled with sponsors and golfers. We’re excited to bring this event to Riverside Golf Club. My thanks goes to the LEDC tournament committee, specifically Lewis Economic Development Council External Relations Manager Eric Sonnenberg for his efforts and Chehalis Foundation Executive Director Jenny Collins for sharing her vast experience in running golf tournaments.

Part of the funds raised in the golf tournament will be donated to the Lewis County United Way, which saw its annual largest fundraiser Chef ’s Night Out set for Sept. 18 being cancelled due to Covid virus concerns and impacts, including supply chain disruptions for restaurants and chefs as well as staffing issues.

We’ll survive and thrive, in part by supporting each other in ventures such as the golf tournament using proceeds to help area nonprofits. As we move forward into a hopeful strong economy at the end of this year and in 2022, the more we work together the more we will succeed. See you at the tournament and our annual banquet scheduled for Oct. 18.

Board Member Spotlight

Reggie Hamilton

Business: Hamilton Rocking and Contracting Inc.

Q: How long have you been a member

of the Lewis Economic Development

Council?

A: A long time, at least 20 years.

Q: Why did you join LEDC?:

A: To be part of a great group of

business owners who want to make

Lewis County a better place to work

with the best opportunities.

Q: What is a key for the success of your

business?:

A: Great employees! Hard work with

the idea of working seven days a week if

that’s what it takes.

Q: What do you

enjoy most about

volunteering?

A: Seeing new

businesses start up and

the next generation

stepping up to take over.

Q: What do you love

most about your industry?

A: Working in the outdoors and

tackling Mother Nature’s challenges.

Q: How do you define success?

A: Being satisfied with what you have

accomplished.

Q: Who inspires you?

A: My father, Clair Hamilton.

Q: What is one thing, either industryrelated

or not, you learned in the last

month?

A: It’s time to retire with all that is

going on in our country.

Q: What’s the last book you read?

A: Hot Rod magazine, lol.

Q: What is your favorite meal?

A: Filet mignon and lobster.

Q: What do you do for pleasure outside

of running your business?

A: Enjoy the Arizona sun and

continually start new projects.

Q: What is the favorite car you have

ever owned?

A: ‘67 Chevelle SS

Q: What is something about you (a fun

fact) that not many people know?

A: I enjoy designing things such as

architecture and landscaping.

Member Spotlight

Chehalis-Based Mill Company Remains Viable Despite Covid Impacts

By Lewis Economic Development Council

Cascade Hardwood started 50 years ago with its Cascade Mill and five employees. Today the company has two mills, is weathering the pandemic economic downturn nicely, and its two mills employ about 210 employees.

Along with its Chehalis operations, the company runs a mill in Port Angeles. Both mills focus on providing quality alder, ash and maple hardwood lumber for use in furniture and cabinet industries across the world.

Cascade Hardwood purchased logs from both private owners and large timber operations. The company basically turns logs into usable lumber. The company is proud of its reliance on renewable timber resources, following all federal, state and local regulations on timber harvesting.

“ (This) helps us provide long-term economic benefits for the areas where we operate, as well as ensuring that the forests preserve our wood resource for future generations to meet their own needs. In Washington and Oregon, a large part of school funding comes from responsible forest management, something we both take pride in and take very seriously,” according to its website.

Larry Eck, Cascade Hardwood’s Chehalis plant general manager, said times are tricky, but his company is thriving.

“Everybody’s going through the same thing — a lot of unknowns,” Eck said. “Fortunately we have a great crew and we didn’t lose any production in 2020 and 2021.”

Eck said he considers his crew “troopers” and “warriors.” He said while some mills have a hard time securing quality employees, Cascade Hardwood’s team is committed to the company.

Cascade Hardwood Chief Financial Officer Don Kuckuck agrees that the company’s employees are stellar.

“Both in the manufacturing and the office, people have really worked well together,” Kuckuck said. “They really stepped up to minimize Covid exposure. They’ve taken it seriously and people have been flexible in their work schedules.

The company has also been able to avoid the volatility of the timber industry.

“You don’t see the big variances in prices,” he said. “Our prices tend to rise slowly and go back down slowly. While softwood has been up 300 percent over a short period of time, our prices went up 50 percent at that time.”