Laid-off employees of Ponderay Newsprint are running out of time and money

The Ponderay Newsprint Mill features rail access and substantial infrastructure seen during a tour of the closed facility on Thursday, December 17, 2020, in Usk, Wash. (Tyler Tjomsland/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

By Fred Willenbrock

USK, Wash. – After being told to go home and not return to their jobs at the Ponderay Newsprint Company mill near Usk, north of Newport, in June, the 148 employees, from trainee to company president, have been taking different steps to safeguard their futures.

While those involved with the bankruptcy settlement have focused on the value of the massive newsprint-making machinery, 29 buildings totaling 326,000 square feet and 927 acres of land, the human toll of the closure in a community with few industries has taken a back seat.

With unemployment benefits ending the week of Dec. 13, those who haven’t found jobs or retired are asking what’s next.

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