MILLERSBURG, Ore. — An iconic building that served as a landmark for many near Albany is now a pile of rubble.
Many of those KEZI 9 News spoke with Tuesday say the boiler was more than just piece of the paper mill, they say it was part of the town’s history and that they’re sad to see it go.
“It is sad. It’s an establishment that you thought would have always been here because it always was here,” said former paper mill employee Dave Cox.
On Sunday morning a crew demolished the building. For some, watching it go down was too much to take.
“I was trying my best not to choke back the tears because not so much that building, but it’s just a symbol of the finality of it. The mill’s going down,” said Millersburg resident Barbara Castillo.
For many, the 175-foot tall recovery boiler stood as a landmark.
“It’s something I’ve seen all my life, and now it’s gone. When I come back into town, it’s going to be weird not having it there,” said Millersburg Resident Brad Hulburt.
“It’s just kind of a symbol when you’re going up and down the freeway that you knew you were getting close to home,” Castillo said.
For the 270 workers who lost their jobs, the boiler represented more than just a landmark, but their livelihood as well.
“Absolute fantastic place to work. We were a team. We worked that way. We wanted to put paper out the door, a good product, and that’s what we did,” Cox said.
Dave Cox, who worked at the mill for 36 years, says it’s devastating to see the remains of the boiler, and he says it’s just another reminder of the hard times hundreds went through when the plant shut down.
“Absolutely sad, it needs to be there. It’s kind of like moral support. You think your friends, after you retire, are going to be working there when you leave and they’re not. It’s gone,” Cox said.
Many locals say they’d like to see the old paper mill property turned into some sort of business that’ll help the local economy.