LYONS Ore. - The state of Oregon is at near-record unemployment levels. And yet, one of the region's biggest lumber companies can't find workers.
 
Freres Lumber told the Statesman Journal that it hasn't been able to operate at full capacity since the COVID-19 pandemic began. A number of workers resigned over the past few months, the company said - citing virus fears.
 
"We’re down one shift in our veneer plant and one shift in our plywood plant," Freres Lumber President Rob Freres told Statesman. "People aren’t showing up, probably out of some anxiety due to the COVID thing. We’ve been really, really shorthanded. We’re running 60 percent."
 
Freres Lumber is the company behind Massive Plywood Panels, densely-layered Douglas veneer sheets for commercial building construction. News of the panels made one of 2017's most popular Woodworking Network articles.
 
Before the pandemic hit, Freres employed 475 workers. Now it is under 400. The company shut down for just one week early May. 
 
Freres received a $5 million PPP loan late April. 
 
The company needs structural engineers, electricians, truck drivers, CNC operators, and unskilled workers. Pay ranges from $13.85 to $25 an hour. Freres said it'll even help workers with schooling.
 

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