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FEDERAL WAY, Wash. - Weyerhaeuser Co. plans to temporarily close its Aberdeen, Wash., softwood lumber sawmill and three others in Canada because of poor market conditions.

"Despite the best efforts of our mill employees, we cannot avoid market downtime," said Bill Corbin, executive vice president of the company's wood products division. "We're taking this action to balance our production with market demand."

The temporary closures are scheduled to begin this month and next for mills in Grande Cache, Alberta; Carrot River, Saskatchewan; and Chapleau, Ontario.

They range from one to six weeks, corporate spokesman Frank Mendizabal said. Aberdeen will shut for one week, leaving 225 of the 250 employees idle.

In Chapleau, 125 people will be idled for about six weeks, Mendizabal said. The mill in Grande Cache will also idle 125 people for about four weeks. And at Carrot River, about 50 people will be laid off for about four weeks.

Weyerhauser wants to cut production by an estimated 60 million to 70 million board feet of lumber.

Federal Way-based Weyerhaeuser is among the world's largest producers of softwood lumber. Its production capacity is 7.6 billion board feet a year.

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