Gov. Jay Inslee today announced that a new partnership between the Washington State Department of Commerce and United Way of Snohomish County is allowing $300,000 in grant funding to help Hampton Mill in Darrington continue operations while SR 530 is repaired.
“We will continue to stand strong with this community through the hard work of recovery and rebuilding. Hampton Mill is the economic heartbeat of Darrington, and the truckers that bring raw materials to the mill and deliver finished products are its lifeline,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “I commend our team at the Department of Commerce and our partners at the United Way of Snohomish County for their quick, collaborative work to keep the mill running and these truckers on the road.”
Commerce and United Way are each providing $150,000 for economic assistance. The funds will be distributed in two installments, the first $150,000 immediately and the next on June 1. Commerce will use U.S. Forest Service funds managed by the department for a grant program for timber dependent communities.
Hampton Mill will use the funding to purchase fuel cards that will be distributed to truckers serving the mill who are experiencing significant increases in time and fuel costs resulting from the SR 530 closure.
“Our objective is to keep the mill operating and keep people working. These funds will help us do that for as long as possible by offsetting our increased fuel costs. We are grateful to United Way and the Department of Commerce for making these funds available,” said Tim Johnson, Plant Manager of Hampton Lumber Mills.
“We are proud to be working with Governor Inslee to offer this support to the Hampton Mill,” said Dr. Dennis G. Smith, president and CEO of United Way of Snohomish County. “The community depends on the mill. Keeping it open will be essential to long-term recovery.”
“It’s gratifying to see this partnership of federal, state, nonprofit and private entities come together to help mitigate the financial impact of business hours and trips lost, allowing the mill to continue operations while the highway is closed,” said Brian Bonlender, Director of the Washington State Department of Commerce.
“Today’s announcement brings some critically needed relief for the truckers and millworkers who have been doing everything they can to keep Hampton Mill running despite tremendous challenges in the aftermath of this tragedy. It’s also good news for the local economy in Darrington,” said Congresswoman Suzan DelBene. “The teamwork and innovative thinking done by everyone involved – from the federal and state government, to nonprofit and private partners – is exactly the kind of collaboration we need as we continue efforts to support all those affected as they recover and rebuild.”