Oregon Steel Mills Inc. called the shutdown of its local melt shop, which takes effect Friday, a temporary move triggered by slow market conditions.

The shutdown puts 300 workers out of work. The company's local 'rolling mill,' which employs 350, will continue to operate.

The melt shop turns scrap metals into liquid steel and helps produce plate and pipe products. It is expensive to operate because it uses large amounts of electric power.

The laid-off employees will be rehired once business conditions improve, said Joe Corvin, the company's president and chief executive officer.

'This certainly means fewer family-wage jobs while the employees are off,' Oregon Steel spokeswoman Vicky Tagliafico said. 'But we're committed to bringing them back if we can, depending on the market.'

Ñ Andy Giegerich

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