Crews tearing down Otis paper mill steam plant

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JAY — Half of the steam plant at the defunct Otis paper mill on Route 4, which straddles the Livermore Falls line, was torn down Monday and the rest will be shortly.

John Clark III of Farmingdale, owner of several scrap metal recycling facilities, including Clark’s Riverside Scrap on the former mill property, formed MAC Development LLC to purchase the property in 2015. 

He asks that people stay away from the site because it is dangerous.

People heading to the scrap yard beyond the mill and closer to the Androscoggin River can still go there to do business.

Clark said he is going to try and stay open but may have to close for a day or two for safety reasons.

Even before Clark bought the 600,000-square-foot mill, a roof on one of the building caved in.

“We’re trying to stay ahead of roofs collapsing,” he said Tuesday. “Eventually it will all come down.”

The steam plant was taking on water but the roof had not collapsed, he said.

The plant was one of the easiest to access because it borders the road into the scrap yard. Another building was demolished last year.

Clark’s son John Clark IV was putting up signs Tuesday morning at the entrance to the mill site that read: “Danger! Demolition Site Keep Out.”

Wausau Paper Corp. closed the mill in 2009 after more than 120 years of making paper at the site, putting more than 100 people out of work. It was bought by Tim DeMillo of Jay and Mary Howes, formerly of Jay, that year with hopes of redeveloping it to preserve the mill history. After years of trying to redevelop it, they sold it to MAC Development LLC.  

Dean Ouellette of Jay, who worked at the paper mill, said Tuesday that after the mill stopped operating he removed a lot of equipment and hazardous material that were part of the boiler system. It was part of the cleanup and closing process, which made the boiler not functional.

He said it’s still sad to see the mill being torn down because of its history.

The original mill was built in 1888 and became the founding mill of International Paper in 1898. The company built a mill on Riley Road in Jay, which began operations in 1965.

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The steam plant at the defunct Otis paper mill in Jay is being torn down as part of the owner’s plan to keep ahead of roofs collapsing at the more than century-old mill. Half of the plant was demolished Monday. (Donna M. Perry/Sun Journal) 

John Clark III of Farmingdale, who formed MAC Development LLC to buy the former Otis paper mill in Jay in 2015, is having the old steam plant torn down. He warned Tuesday that people stay away from the dangerous site, which is private property. (Donna M. Perry/Sun Journal) 

The steam plant had been taking on water at the defunct Otis paper mill in Jay and is being torn down as part of owner’s plan to keep ahead of roofs collapsing at the more than century-old mill. Half of the plant was demolished Monday. (Donna M. Perry/Sun Journal) 

The steam plant at the defunct Otis paper mill in Jay and is being torn down as part of owner’s plan to keep ahead of roofs collapsing at the more than century-old mill. Half of the plant was demolished Monday. (Donna M. Perry/Sun Journal) 

John Clark IV, right, and Tim DeMillo put up signs on Tuesday to warn people to keep out of the demolition site at the defunct Otis paper mill in Jay because it is dangerous. Clark’s father, John Clark III of Farmingdale who formed MAC Development LLC to buy the former mill property in 2015, is having the steam plant torn down. (Donna M. Perry/Sun Journal) 

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