Down, down, down...The ring of fired, the ring of fired...
Google "Nippon Shoalhaven," and you'll see that it seems Nippon is also shutting down a big paper mill in Australia. It employs about 75 people, and has been running just one production machine. They produce security-grade paper used to make passports.
So I guess the takeaway from this is that not only are fewer people reading newspapers, but fewer Australians are getting passports.
Whatever the case, this has clearly, undeniably been coming for years. Even the late "great" Harold Norlund spent his last years in Port Angeles talking about how the paper market was a shrinking market. Despite that, and despite all the other cultural and economic cues that this was coming, expect local leaders like Pat Downie and Cherie Kidd to be "shocked" by this news.
Pat Downie feels your...
I'd also expect that eternal booster of "industrial-type jobs," Peter Ripley to be among those gobsmacked by this announcement.
But I like to think that the people who read this blog are a little more astute than Peter, Pat and Cherie. I trust that many of you are less than shocked by this announcement, and that some of you are even, dare I say it, pleased?
As for me, I have to say I laughed out loud when I saw mill manager Steve Johnson refer to the PDN as a "source of intelligence." It's probably the first time the paper has been accused of that.
So what will the loggers and Luddites in Port Angeles do now, as the image of PA as a "Mill Town" continues to totally and utterly fall apart? Will this lead to self-examination and positive growth? Or will it simply add to the unemployment rate? Will those in charge recognize this as an opportunity? Or will they simply wring their hands in sorrow? Is there a Plan B for Port Angeles? Was there ever even a Plan A?
Yes, stay tuned...Because this move on Nippon's part also will cost the City of Port Angeles hundreds of thousands of dollars in utility taxes, according to a memo from City Manager Dan McKeen. He puts the figure at $360,000. That's quite a sizable chunk out of the already bloated and strained City budget - especially since the City views utility rates and taxes as their only viable growth area for "revenue."
Now that Nippon is going down, watch the City Council revisit whether or not your utility rates need to go up again, to make up the difference. Let's also watch to see what the City does when it gets to renegotiate Nippon's industrial water rate in the not-too-distant future.