- Associated Press - Monday, April 6, 2015

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. (AP) - The owner of a Springfield plywood mill that burned down is due a property tax refund of nearly a quarter of a million dollars.

Oregon law allows property owners to file for such refunds after a catastrophe like a fire, the Eugene Register-Guard (https://bit.ly/1GDIIhF) reported.

Typically, the refunds are for homes damaged or destroyed by fire or storms. The reductions usually range from hundreds to thousands of dollars, depending on the value of the property and the scope of the loss.

“This is an extreme magnitude,” Lane County Assessor Mike Cowles said.

The July 17 fire at Springfield Plywood displaced 250 workers. It’s officially listed as under investigation.

Swanson Group plans to rebuild. It recently acquired the Olympic Panel Products mill in Shelton, Washington, and will move its equipment to the new Springfield mill next year. The sale price was not disclosed.

Chuck Wert, Swanson’s chief operating officer, said the company is close to selecting a contractor, with construction scheduled to begin in August or September and operations starting in mid-2016.

“We’re pushing hard,” he said.

The company paid its annual property tax bill in November: almost $380,000 after a 3 percent discount for paying in full.

After the refund, to be sent later this month, it will have paid nearly $133,000 for the year.

The revenue will hit will be spread among many public agencies.

Wert said that seeking a refund is protocol for a fire loss, but he understands that it will have an effect.

“There’s no question it’s a hardship on the county there,” he said.


Information from: The Register-Guard, https://www.registerguard.com

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