NewWood shuttered, in receivership

The NewWood composite manufacturing company is now in court-directed receivership with a number of creditors, from the Port of Grays Harbor to the Grays Harbor PUD, having filed unpaid bills still owed by the company that had been operating at the Satsop Business Park since 2010.

Port commissioners on Thursday were told the receivership process is similar to what Grays Harbor Paper went through before it was sold, and the same receiver — Dick Hooper of Pivotal Solutions — will handle the potential sale or liquidation overseen by Grays Harbor Superior Court.

On Monday, the Port intends to ask Grays Harbor Superior Court Judge Mark McCauley for permission to collect unpaid rent from a security deposit NewWood had to put up as part of its original lease.

“There is a fairly significant amount of debt that exists, both secured and unsecured,” Port Executive Director Gary Nelson said in reviewing the case for Port commissioners Thursday. “I was a little surprised at the long list of debtors.”

NewWood was well-publicized when it took over an abandoned wood products plant, and President and CEO John Bowser announced as many as 150 people would be hired. Operating in a 275,000-square-foot facility, the company turned wood waste and recycled plastic into a composite wood called NewWood.

But in June, Bowser appeared before the PUD Commission and told the board he was unable to keep up with the company’s utility payments and that NewWood was seeking new financial backing. The company, however, was unable to restart and court papers list the main plaintiff in the receivership case as Craft3, the same company that helped finance the sale of Grays Harbor Paper. Craft 3, formerly ShoreBank Pacific of Ilwaco, is a regional economic development financer that specializes in sustainable industries in rural areas like Grays Harbor.

Craft3 is owed nearly $4.8 million as one of the chief secured creditors, court documents show. The PUD, as an unsecured creditor, is owed about $215,000 and the Satsop Public Development Authority (now under Port administration) is owed about $412,000.

Satsop Business Park CEO Tami Garrow, who is retiring in March but is still working for the Port under the Satsop-Port consolidation, said she met with Hooper of Pivotal Solutions in late November and discussed the company’s lease terms. She listed the NewWood facility as space that is now being marketed for potential new clients.

Pivotal Solutions, Nelson explained, recently petitioned the court to extend proceedings until July to give the receiver another six months to market the facility and possibly find a buyer. “I know there have been some potential suitors on site to take a look at the facilities at NewWood,” Nelson said.

Nelson said the company’s security deposit for the lease at Satsop could be used for the past-due rent.

The NewWood facility includes about 13 acres of developed property and the massive manufacturing space as well as office and covered storage space.