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Hawthorne economy struggling a year after Georgia-Pacific plant closing

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It’s been more than a year since the Georgia-Pacific Plywood Mill closed in the small town of Hawthorne, and the city’s economy is still suffering from the loss.

Hawthorne lost more than 400 jobs when the mill shut its doors in late 2011.

“If you take out 450 jobs, then that’s 450 less people who have an opportunity to use goods and services within the city limits of Hawthorne,” Hawthorne’s city manager Ellen Vause said.

Although the city’s population has not yet changed, she said fewer people have been going to the local carwash, grocery stores, barbershops and restaurants.

“We’ve definitely seen a reduced number of people that have been in the area visiting our businesses,” Vause said.

She said the plant still has the same owners and they haven’t tried to sell the property.

“There’s always the anticipation that if they keep it and don’t sell it, that maybe one day it will open back up,” she said.

With a population of less than 1,500, the town decided to create a Facebook page called “Keep G.P. in Hawthorne.” The open group has more than 1,000 members and is still frequently used for citizens to find work.

Rebekah Geier edited this story online.

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