Weyerhaeuser closing Trus Joist tech center in Boise

Dozens of employees will have to choose between keeping their jobs and staying in the Treasure Valley.

adutton@idahostatesman.comFebruary 22, 2014 

Trus Joist began in a local barn more than 50 years ago, with an idea for engineered wood products. It grew slowly into a giant. Now, the company is losing a big part of its Idaho roots.

Weyerhaeuser, which bought Trus Joist in 2000, told Boise employees last month that it will close its Boise Wood Products Technology Center on Amity Road east of Federal Way. Weyerhaeuser is moving work at that location into a tech center at its headquarters in Federal Way, Wash.

The Boise tech center will be vacant by August, and the building will be put up for sale this year, according to Shannon Hughes, a Weyerhaeuser spokeswoman. That closure will result in a total of 20 employees being laid off.

“We need to improve the financial performance of our business,” she said Friday.

The tech center has 77 employees. Hughes said 34 of them can follow their jobs to Federal Way. Twenty-three will relocate to the adjacent Weyerhaeuser distribution center on Amity Road, and 11 will stay at the tech center until the building is sold.

The company’s distribution center in Boise will stay open, and its 11 current employees will stay.

Laid-off workers will receive standard severance packages with benefits.

“These are really great employees,” Hughes said. “They’ve worked very hard, invested a lot of time ... (and) will certainly be great contributors to the Boise area” labor force.

The closure will have no effect on sales or distribution for customers, she said.

Weyerhaeuser, a global wood-products giant that started more than 100 years ago in Tacoma, Wash., bought Trus Joist for $720 million.

“We had great technologies, and every forest products company in the United States and a lot of them from overseas tried to buy us,” said Walt Minnick, a former Trus Joist CEO, in a 2013 interview with the Statesman’s Business Insider magazine. “Everyone wanted to buy us for about 15 years. Weyerhaeuser was quite persistent.”

Minnick was elected to the U.S. House, where he served one term as a Democrat representing Idaho’s 1st District until Republican Raul Labrador defeated him in 2010.

Correction: This story has been edited to correct and clarify total number of layoffs, that Weyerhaeuser owns the Boise distribution center and the schedule for its tech-center closure and sale.

Audrey Dutton: 377-6448, Twitter: @IDS_Audrey[0x0b]

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