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Girard Wood Products proposes expansion of lumber yard near Elma

Steven Friederich | The Vidette Girard Wood Products stacks up finished wooden pallets in the parking lot in front of its facility in Elma. The business plans to expand to create a better yard for storage purposes.
Steven Friederich | The Vidette Girard Wood Products stacks up finished wooden pallets in the parking lot in front of its facility in Elma. The business plans to expand to create a better yard for storage purposes.
Steven Friederich | The Vidette A fork lift removes product from a parked truck at Girard Wood Products in Elma last week. The business plans to expand to create a better yard for storage purposes.
Steven Friederich | The Vidette A fork lift removes product from a parked truck at Girard Wood Products in Elma last week. The business plans to expand to create a better yard for storage purposes.

Girard Wood Products’ Elma operations has proposed to expand its current facility’s yard for logs and finished products in what would be its second major improvement in recent years.

The company produces crates and palettes and has three manufacturing facilities — one in Elma, Puyallup and in Lathrop, Calif.

The Grays Harbor County Planning division issued a mitigated determination of non-significance for the company to fill a portion of its existing site at East Schouweiler Tracts Road. The county is taking written comment on its decision until Sept. 19 and would issue the permit shortly thereafter for construction to start if everything goes as planned.

Girard’s, though its owner Vipond Enterprises of University Place, has proposed adding 3.68 acres of crushed rock and paved storage area, adding 15,200 cubic yards of material to the site.

Grays Harbor Planner Curt Crites says that the company already owns the land, which sits next to the finished yard and supply center that Mary’s River Lumber has in the area known as the East County Industrial Park.

“They also plan to expand their pond to deal with the increased surface area and improve the stormwater system,” Crites said. “The plan is to take material from the pond and help use it to fill the site.”

Crites says the site currently consists of unimproved ground, shrubs and grass. There are no current plans to expand any buildings to the site.

In 2010, Girard’s expanded its actual facility from 37,952 square feet by an additional 17,800 square feet. The company had been doing a line of palettes in the open air and wanted to enclose its operations in the structure.

Since that time, Crites noted that much of the company’s parking lots has turned into a place to hold finished product and it looked like the company was running out of room.

Company officials didn’t return a message seeking comment. The company’s website notes, “Girard Wood Products has been in operation since 1961 at its location in Puyallup. The business was purchased by the Vipond family in 1982. …

It is now one of the largest and most technically advanced pallet manufacturers on the West Coast.”

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