Hanel Development auctions all equipment this weekend

Sterling Hanel circa 1955

Editor’s Note: this article is updated from the version that appeared in print; it corrects the days of the sale, which are Friday and Saturday, April 11-12

Hanel Development Group, the last corporate vestige of Sterling Hanel’s legacy, is closing shop and selling equipment large and small.

Auction Sales Co of The Dalles is handling the liquidation auction, Friday and Saturday, starting at 10 a.m. both days, at the “lower Neal Creek mill” site, 3289 Neal Creek Mill Road, just outside Odell.

“It feels sad,” said Jean Casey, daughter of company founder Sterling Hanel. “I started working at the upper mill when I was young and then came down here, and I miss all the guys, especially Dad. He was a wonderful father, a wonderful man, who took care of everything and anyone that needed taking care of. A lot of people still remember dad.”

Sterling Hanel was born in Prineville in 1916. He got his start logging timber using horses, and founded the company in 1943 with a hand-operated sawmill he purchased for $1,300. He transformed Hanel Lumber into the county’s largest employer for many years, operating two mills in Odell. The upper Hanel Mill was sold in 2000 to QVL and is now Mt. Hood Forest Products.

Hanel built the upper mill site in 1952, expanding its planing, cutting and kilning operations in 1953 and 1957. In 1983 he purchased the 65-acre Champion mill at Neal Creek, four miles north of the “upper” mill. This gave the company increased planing, dry kiln and lumber storage.

Sterling retired in 1993, at the 50th anniversary of the company, and his son, Bob, became president.

Bob Hanel, a lifelong Hood River resident, died Oct. 14, 2013, at age 72. He is survived by his sisters, Jean, and Janet Princehouse as well as his wife, Barbara, three children, four grandchildren, and his mother, Kathleen Hanel. His brother Bill died in December 2013

Bob served as president of Hanel Development, Indian Creek Golf LLC, HPC Properties Inc., RLH Properties, ANPC, Highlands Development Inc., and Hanel Lumber Co.

Hanel Development was created after the sale of the mill. The company built forest service and private roads, cleared land and built driveways, and cut timber.

Hanel Development formally ceased operations in November, and had 16 employees at the time.

Casey said the family is going through records and family items in storage at the Hanel Development office, and preparing for sale of the remaining Hanel Development land. (Portions of the lower mill property have been sold over the years.) Casey said “we have a couple of interested parties” looking at the land.

The auctioneers’ ad states that “Hanel’s maintenance program has left this equipment in good condition and ready to go to work.”

Equipment includes dozers, wheel loaders, excavators, forklifts, a grader, backhoe, and trucks, trailers, and machine shop equipment, as well as tools and parts, and other vehicles.

For a complete list, visit AuctionSalesCo.com.

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