The Old Cascade Lumber Mill Helped Support Families for Generations and build Yakima - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

The Old Cascade Lumber Mill Helped Support Families for Generations and build Yakima

YAKIMA, Wa -  Yakima Resources says it will close down its plywood mill on Saturday.  That mill used to belong to Cascade Lumber, which opened over a century ago.  This weekend an era will come to an end.  KNDO takes a look at how the mill has impacted the Yakima and the families who have worked there.  

Jim Gaudette points to an old picture.  It was taken in 1950.  His grandfather, Art Gaudette, is the man on the left.  Jim says his grandfather first started working at Cascade Lumber when it opened in 1903.  He was forced to retire 59-years later. 

"It's just a big loss.  It's almost like losing a relative of my family," says Jim Gaudette when asked about the decision to close the mill.

The Gaudette's have been working at the mill for four generations.  They been there since the lumber mill first opened, and watched it grow and change over time.  Jim says it used to be the largest employer in Yakima.

"It made a living, put food on the table and sent the kids to school," he says proudly.

Jim Baule, Director of the Yakima Valley Museum, says the mill and the people who worked there have played a vital role in Yakima's growth.  "It's been one of the hallmarks of the community," says Baule, "You are probably looking, when you drive around Yakima, or around the valley, you're looking at a lot of buildings, homes built with Cascade lumber."

"This is our family," says Jim Gaudette, pointing to a picture, "Jewel (his wife) and I are in the middle." For Jim Gaudette the mill was simply a "good paying job".  It helped them raise their five children.  They now have 22 grandchildren and 25 great grandchildren.

"So many people made a living down there, a decent living. We don't have that anymore," he says.

The Yakima Valley Museum says they are putting together a new exhibit on business and industry in the Yakima Valley.  Baule says and the mill's history will certainly be included.