Mid-Valley Wood Products closes after 50 years of operation
Mid-Valley Wood Products in Amity, owned and operated by MV Advancements (MVA) for over 50 years will be closing at the end of the year. Founded by Margaret Reavis Larsen and a group of families in 1966 to provide work opportunities for adults who experience a disability, it was one of the first employment options for people with disabilities in the state of Oregon.
Wood Products was created to provide jobs for people with disabilities and it grew from providing employment for 5 individuals in 1966 in a small workshop in Amity to providing employment for over 30 people. With recent changes at the State and Federal levels, the company was in the process of transitioning its business model.
In the past three years, MV Advancements has found employment for almost all of the supported employees at Mid-Valley Wood Products with local businesses. Facility-based employment, often called sheltered workshops are no longer meeting the mission of MV Advancements and the people that we support.
The decision to close is bittersweet for the company. Kathy Schlotfeldt, Executive Director stated, “We are at a time in history where we no longer need to create jobs for individuals with a disability. There are business needs that already exist in our communities and our team of employment professionals match our clients’ individual strengths, gifts, and capacities to those business needs.”
Bob Laughlin, the board treasurer stated, “While closing a 50-year chapter is difficult, we will celebrate the years and the number of clients served. It truly was a wonderful operation and the word sheltered workshop never applied. It was always a family enterprise that met a real community need.”
Mid-Valley Wood Products has set a closure date of December 31, 2018. In the next several months they will be working with stakeholders to ensure a smooth transition.
In the past three years, MV Advancements has not only changed their name (from Mid-Valley Rehabilitation) and moved all of its employment services to community-based employment, it has kept its commitment of no client being left behind. In addition, while common in the industry, it no longer pays a sub-minimum wage to any of its workers. MVA empowers and supports over 200 individuals in community employment in Yamhill, Polk, and Marion counties as well as 80 individuals in Community Inclusion Services and over 40 individuals in residential services. Scott Larsen, a board member said, “Margaret would be so happy to see 200 clients employed in the community instead of working in the workshop.”
Dave Haugeberg, the board president added, “This is a day to celebrate and Margaret would be pleased that we no longer must create job opportunities for our clients as there are now community-based work opportunities for adults with disabilities. This is a life-changing achievement!”
In the past two years, MV Advancements has placed 77 individuals in community jobs with local businesses in Yamhill, Polk, and Marion counties. If you are interested in talking about how your business could benefit from hiring someone through MVA, please give them a call today.