Harvey Saul has spent his entire adult life involved with the logging industry.
After 24 years working in sawmills, he went into business for himself, acquiring a small fleet of mobile mills, two of which are working to help victims of the Archie Creek Fire clear their properties in an effort to recover and rebuild.
“I had always looked into different options for mobile mills,” said Saul, a 1982 graduate of Roseburg High School and Camas Valley native. “I found one, picked one up, and we’ve been doing it ever since.”
The mobile mills have been part of the family business since 2006. The workforce has included his sons, Damion, 28, and Louis, 22, and now includes his daughter Katrena, 20, who has been working on his crew since she was 6 years old.
Katrena Saul, Harvey said, is effectively his millwright.
“She runs the saw better than anyone else I could have running it,” Harvey Saul said. “She’s my main sawyer. She can do the whole thing.”
Harvey Saul owns three mobile mills, one located in central Oregon and two in the Umpqua Valley. Last week, Saul had one of his mills in Glide, assisting Dell and Cory Minot, who moved to the area from Olive Branch, Mississippi, in 2019.
The Archie Creek Fire “just burned a perfect circle around our ranch,” said Dell Minot of the couple’s 5-acre property on Bar L Ranch Road on the eastern edge of Glide.
The Minots estimated they lost 33 trees to the fire, a moderate tally compared to others in the area.
“We feel a lot of survivor’s guilt,” Dell Minot said. “We’re used to hurricanes and tornadoes, but nothing like this.
“It’s going to take so long for so many to get to the rebuilding phase.”
The Minots contacted Saul, and he brought his medium-sized mill to their property to help process their damaged timber after it had been felled by Advanced Tree Care of Roseburg.
The mill Saul provided was able to accommodate logs between 8 and 20 feet in length, with a 36-inch maximum diameter.
Saul also has a third mill available locally that can trim lumber up to 28 feet long with a maximum 40-inch diameter.
The mills can trim logs into a number of different dimensions for framing and “skids” (supports) depending on the quality of the lumber.
The Minots will be donating their lumber to those in need, beginning this week.
Dell Minot said the community feel of Glide reminds her of their former home in Olive Branch, a suburb of Memphis, Tennessee.
“Being up there, in a small, tiny town, everyone takes care of each other,” Dell Minot said. “Everything that has happened the past few months, this community proved it’s worth being here. Everybody wants to help somebody and care for somebody.”
Harvey Saul is currently in the process of temporarily locating his two available mills in the center of Glide to help affected residents with the processing of their damaged timber.
He said the amount of timber felled by the Archie Creek Fire was similar to the damage done by the February 2019 “Snowmageddon” storm.
“That was three years worth of wood right there,” said Harvey Saul, whose mobile mills are capable of milling 100,000 board feet of lumber per year.
To contact Harvey Saul about mobile milling options, call 541-671-1993.