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Minnesota Lumber Products Plant Closes

Ainsworth Lumber Company is closing its plant in Bemidji for an indefinite period, idling about 150 workers.

BEMIDJI, Minn. (AP) -- Ainsworth Lumber Company is closing its plant in Bemidji for an indefinite period.

About 150 people work at the Bemidji plant, which makes oriented strand board.

Ainsworth says it will reevaluate the closure in late October.

Bruce Rose, Ainsworth's vice president for corporate development, told The Pioneer of Bemidji on Wednesday that the drop in housing starts has effectively closed the market for oriented strand board.

Chief executive Robert Allen says they expect "these very difficult conditions" to continue, at least for the near term.

Ainsworth's plant in Cook was idled in January, and company officials said last month that it would remain closed until at least summer 2009. That plant once employed 150 workers.

Vancouver, British Columbia-based Ainsworth announced in August it would permanently shutter its Grand Rapids plant, which had been "temporarily" closed for nearly two years and once employed about 190 people.

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