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After growing concern over Darrington’s largest employer stopping operations, Hampton Lumber Mill received a $300,000 grant to help keep the business operational while State Route 530 is repaired.

Last month’s landslide blocked a mile of SR 530 and cut the community off from Interstate 5. With truckers forced to take the long route through Skagit County on SR 20, extra fuel costs were becoming a burden for the company.

“Hampton Mill is the economic heartbeat of Darrington, and the truckers that bring raw materials to the mill and deliver finished products are its lifeline,” Gov. Jay Inslee said in a written statement. “I commend our team at the Department of Commerce and our partners at the United Way of Snohomish County for their quick, collaborative work to keep the mill running and these truckers on the road.”

The grant is a combination of $150,000 from the state Department of Commerce and the $150,000 from United Way of Snohomish County and will be used to purchase fuel cards that will be distributed to truckers serving the mill.

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“Our objective is to keep the mill operating and keep people working. These funds will help us do that for as long as possible by offsetting our increased fuel costs,” Tim Johnson, Hampton Lumber Mills plant manager, said in a statement. “We are grateful to United Way and the Department of Commerce for making these funds available.”

The Washington state Department of Transportation says it hopes to have one lane of highway 530 open to local traffic by fall, noting it is still too soon to tell if the road will be drivable once the debris has been cleared.

Coral Garnick: 206-464-2422 or On Twitter @coralgarnick

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