New mill interpretive center will be unveiled on Friday

Ribbon cutting begins at 5 p.m.

A ribbon cutting and open house for the Camas paper mill’s new historical interpretive center will be held as part of First Friday.

During the event, which begins at 5 p.m. at 401 N.E. Adams St., attendees will get a look inside the recently refurbished Georgia-Pacific lobby that features a time line of the mill’s history, artifacts and historic products, and videos highlighting the facility’s background.

According to Caroline Mercury, senior compliance and ethics manager with G-P, one video offers information about the paper making process with footage taken from inside the mill. Another features an interview with 91-year-old local historian Virginia Warren and focuses on the origin of the mill and how it fits in to the city’s history.

Design work on the new lobby began about a year ago, and construction took place during the last six to eight months.

Mill officials had been considering the space’s potential for several years, according to Anna Fry, principle secretary for the mill engineering department.

“It became apparent that we needed a place that would allow folks to come and see what we are all about,” she said. “The mill receives calls for tours all the time from the community and family members of past employees. It will be nice to share this space with all ages and really give them a view of the history in the community and the process that is being produced by a videographer.”

Mill historians, including Warren, will be on-hand during the ceremony.

In addition, the public will also have the opportunity to meet the mill’s new manager, Jeremy Ness. He stepped into the position in Camas in Sept. 8, after working at the G-P mill in Wauna for 17 years. He succeeds Joe Ertolacci, who left G-P to pursue other opportunities, according to Fry.

The Camas mill was first established more than 120 years ago.

Columbia River Paper Co. was incorporated in 1884 by Henry L. Pittock, publisher of The Oregonian. It became Crown Zellerbach following a merger in 1928, which it remained for 60 years.

It was purchased by James River in 1966, and through a corporate merger it became Fort James in 1997. The mill was purchased by Georgia-Pacific in 2000, and then by Koch Industries in 2005.

Mercury said plans are for the mill’s interpretive center will be open to the public during monthly First Fridays, and at special events throughout the year.

In addition to the ribbon cutting at G-P, events happening during October’s First Friday will include a carved pumpkin voting contest, kids’ fall crafts, arts shows, fall shopping and dining.

A Star Wars costume contest starts at 7 p.m., in Journey Church, 304 N.E. Fourth Ave. Participants can sign up between 5 and 6:45 p.m.

“Everyone loves Star Wars, so we are hopeful to have some really good costume entries,” Carrie Schulstad, DCA executive director, said in a press release. “We have been anxiously awaiting the mill lobby unveil and it will be a wonderful way for people to stay connected with our town’s history. They’ve done a beautiful job. We hope everyone can come out for the ribbon cutting at 5 p.m. and celebrate what Georgia-Pacific has done.”

For more information about First Friday, visit