By Franklin Stover
Humboldt Beacon
August 7, 2008

Following the dissolution of Pacific Lumber and the rise of the Mendocino Redwood Company (MRC) in Scotia, a 'rapid response team' has been organized in Fortuna on Thursday, Aug. 7 to assist PALCO employees who have recently lost their jobs.

As the beleagured Pacific Lumber Company concern has been involved in intense bankruptcy proceedings for 18 months, the company most commonly known as PALCO has come to an end. As of last Tuesday, July 28, all court documents have been signed that are necessary to implement the court-approved reorganization plan advanced by Mendocino Redwood Company and PALCO creditor Marathon Structured Finance Fund.

Under this plan, Scotia Pacific's 210,000 acre holdings and the Scotia sawmill will be operated by MRC, while Scotia will be managed by Marathon, a New York based lender. Also, under the new deal, PALCO and all of its smaller companies will be consolidated into a single company called Humboldt Redwood Company.

With all the shake-ups, there are displaced PALCO employees, and MRC is doing its part to assist those, now out of work. According to Sandy Dean, Chairman of Mendocino Redwood Company, employee outreach efforts will include walking displaced workers through applying for unemployment insurance, assessment and testing for prospective new fields, career counseling, resume writing, interviewing skills, as well as looking at job search methods.

Counselors will also discuss opportunities like on-the job training, starting a business and education tuition assistance. The Rapid Response Team was assembled to offer the most complete transition assistance to displaced workers and includes representation from the Employment Development Department Workforce Services, Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services, Employment Training Department, North Coast Small Business Development Center, and Humboldt County Personnel.

This event is only open to displaced workers and their families and will be held at the Fireman's Hall in Fortuna from 10 a.m. to Noon. Fireman's Hall is located at 320 South Fortuna Blvd. For information, call 445-9035.