Georgia-Pacific is finally saying goodbye to Bellingham. They announce today that they will shut down its tissue mill on the city waterfront in December, eliminating more than 200 jobs and ending the company's 44-year history here.
This comes as good and bad news for us here in town. The bad news is the loss or over 200 good paying jobs, the good news is G-P will be totally gone from Bellingham's waterfront.
G-P's history in Bellingham began in 1963, when the company took over Puget Sound Pulp & Timber Co.'s waterfront operation that dated back to the 1920s. G-P expanded its operations on the downtown waterfront site over the years they were here, adding a chlorine plant and chemical production and employing more than 1,000 people at the peak in the 1980s.
Their decline began in 2000,with the West Coast electric power market crisis, and in 2001 the company shut down its pulp operations and laid off more than 400 workers.
In January 2005, G-P agreed to turn its 137 waterfront acres over to the City and Port of Bellingham, in exchange, the port agreed to undertake the multimillion- dollar clean up of the mercury contamination on the land and adjacent waterways. The contamination had been caused by the chlorine plant's operations.
G-P's deal with the port obligates the company to demolish the tissue mill once it ceases operations.