Feb 19-11

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2011: February: Feb 19-11
Smurfit-Stone paper mill    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by E. Neil Harri

Mary Drew at Pasty Central (Mdrew) on Saturday, February 19, 2011 - 05:29 am:

We're back today with another aerial shot from E. Neil Harri, this time over Ontonagon and focused in on the Smurfit-Stone paper mill buildings. Correct me if I'm wrong, but as I understand the situation, the building was sold a few months back and is now supposed to be torn down. This is stirring up plenty of controversy in the town, since it had been rumored at the time of the sale, that it would be changed into a biofuel plant and would then provide much needed jobs for the area.

Does anyone have any current information about the sale of the buildings? Let's hope for the sake of the residents in that portion of the U.P., that something more than scrap will come of this former paper mill

By Hollidays (Hollybranches) on Saturday, February 19, 2011 - 07:02 am:

The paper mill will be demolished and sold for scrap metal. :(

By Sconie (Sconie) on Saturday, February 19, 2011 - 07:13 am:

I work in the wood chemicals industry and just as a matter of general interest, have been following the status of the Ontonagon mill. My understanding is that the equipment and machinery assets of the Ontonagon mill have been sold to American Metal and Iron, Montreal, Quebec----and that their intention is to "scrap out" the physical plant.

By Hollidays (Hollybranches) on Saturday, February 19, 2011 - 07:32 am:

American is taking the entire building down to the concrete foundation.

By DARRELL C OINAS (Northwind) on Saturday, February 19, 2011 - 07:32 am:

Seems to be a real waste if the building can be used to house some other business but as usual deals are made in back rooms and the public finds out when it is to late.

By Sconie (Sconie) on Saturday, February 19, 2011 - 08:39 am:

I don't think it is so much a matter of deals in "back rooms" as it is the fact that there just are no other economically viable uses for the stucture. It is very expensive to take down a building---if there were another financially sound use for it, I would suspect that those in control would probably pursue that as an option. Unfortunately, the same exact thing has happened in the past over at White Pine, up in the Calumet area, etc.

By Doug (Greenhermit) on Saturday, February 19, 2011 - 11:22 am:

The notion of corporate management's incompetence and greed also rings a bell.

By Alex "UP-Goldwinger" (Alex) on Saturday, February 19, 2011 - 11:25 am:

It looks like it would make a nice correctional facility. Even though the locals would probably object, it would bring business to the local economy in the form of repair and maintenance, food preparation, security, etc.

By Paul H. Meier (Paul) on Saturday, February 19, 2011 - 11:58 am:

According to ABC News, US manufacturing peaked out in 1979. Since then there has been a dramatic decline. Who is to blame? We all are in some ways. Government, Wall Street, labor, the education system, banks, NIMBY's; you name it. Whole books have been written on why any one faction or factor is to blame, but it boils down to we were willing to become a nation of consumers to the point that we consume more than we produce. We looked to satisfy our immediate needs and whims and did not face up to the long term consequences. The mill in Ontonagon was well located, the low cost inputs, pulp and water, were right there, the high value output could be shipped by rail. Yes, the rails will haul out the scrap and salvage and then the rails will go. But, electronic media has decimated one portion of the paper market and the decline of manufacturing here has decimated the market for packaging material. Smurfit-Stone was one of players in the market that failed. The mill's failure will be the direct cause of the rail abandonment. The loss of the two will make very difficult to establish any new industry in the Ontonagon area.
The steel and usable machinery may well go to Asia. We can see it again at our local big box stores. Unfortunately, with all the braying from the left and trumpeting from the right, I don't hear anything that actually addresses the problem.

By Cindy Pihlaja Russell (Gone2long) on Saturday, February 19, 2011 - 12:51 pm:

Under the Governor's proposed budget plan, the Department of Corrections support staff may take quite a big hit. :-(

By Wes Scott (Travelnorth) on Saturday, February 19, 2011 - 01:33 pm:

The decline of America is very obvious to me.
The post WWII boom really was the time to be in business in America. Now we are fighting for scraps. Yes it's costly to remove a building
and more costly to the area. How sad is right.
Tourism only takes you so far. I am always proud
to spend my tourist dollars in the U.P and feel very good when I leave a nice tip for a waitress working very hard. The U.P is a incredible area.
Also a victim of the boom bust cycle and sadly I don't see another boom coming.

By DARRELL C OINAS (Northwind) on Saturday, February 19, 2011 - 04:19 pm:

Hope they leave the rail system in tact as it may come in handy in the future,once gone you know it will not be coming back and what does it hurt as its the most economical way to ship if in the future somthing turns up in manufacturing, never say never otherwise that leaves transporting by air,truck or ship and those are all more expensive.

By Hollidays (Hollybranches) on Saturday, February 19, 2011 - 04:53 pm:

The rail system is also going to be a goner. American, the company demolishing the paper mill was going to ship the scrap metal via rail. Now the railroad company plans on pulling up the tracks early. So sick of these money games. :(

Really irate with the budget cuts our new governor has to offer. Maybe we can revolt like Wisconsin is doing.

Really scared with Michigan's governor and his cuts.

By John D. (Hansvonuper) on Sunday, February 20, 2011 - 08:08 am:

Same thing is happening in Niagara, WI just south of Iron Mountain.

By Morning Glory (Lucylu) on Sunday, February 20, 2011 - 09:46 am:

Just as Edison, Ford and Gates brought new and innovative inventions and business ideas to the American dream there is a fresh new generation of Americans who are just as intelligent, if not more intelligent, and just as enterprising who will do the same. Don't count them out. There are God inspired ideas in the minds of people. They just need to take those dreams and dare to step out. America is still the land of opportunity for those who are industrious and innovative. We have a lot more resource and technology than many other countries. We have got to stop looking at what our country can do for us, and see what we can do for our country. I am proud to be an American. The first step towards changing the economy is to first of all be thankful for how God HAS blessed our nation, EXPECT His blessings to continue and then step out and make those ideas happen.

By Richard A. Fields (Cherokeeyooper) on Wednesday, February 23, 2011 - 09:09 am:

The paper making industry has collapsed. A good part of the reason is we changed our habits. Fewer and fewer people buy magazines or newspapers, and email has replaced traditional mail. The end result is less need for paper. In Stone's case, if fewer items are manufactured in the US, there is less need for boxes and containers. I imaginze the wood products issue all over is in poor shape with the bust in the housing industry. Sad, but it has happened before.

It will be interesting to watch nature reclaim the site if it is allowed to do so though.

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