BANGOR, Maine — For three decades, lifelong Old Town resident Phillip Tibbetts made his way to the mill in town and made his living as a machinist. On Wednesday he sat in the back row at an auction of thousands of items from the shuttered Old Town and Lincoln mills, hoping to take home something he can use.

“I’m looking for a welder,” Tibbetts said, holding a thick book listing auction items from the closed Lincoln Pulp and Tissue and Expera Old Town mills, while seated at the live auction being held in a conference room at the Hilton Garden Inn.

“I got out when it closed for the first time in 2003,” he said, referring to when Georgia-Pacific Corp. permanently stopped making tissue, laying off about 300 employees, or around half of the workforce. “I was close to retiring, so I never went back.”

Tibbetts remained in Old Town and has watched as the community’s hopes for a revival were raised three times, first by Red Shield Environmental, then the arrival of New York venture capitalist Lynn Tilton, founder and CEO of Patriarch Partners, who created the Old Town Fuel & Fiber pulp mill, and then, finally, Expera Speciality Solutions in 2014. Expera’s attempt to make pulp ended with the plant closure — and layoff of around 179 millworkers — at the end of 2015.

“It wasn’t good,” the retired millworker said of the most recent mill closure. “It was bad. A lot of people worked there for a long time. For a lot of people, that was the only job they ever worked.”

The consortium that owns the former Lincoln Paper and Tissue LLC and Expera Specialty Solutions’ Old Town facilities is led by Gordon Brothers Group and includes Capital Recovery Group, PPL Group and Rabin Worldwide.

The live auction started Tuesday and runs through Thursday night. Two days of online bidding through Bidspotter are scheduled for Monday and Tuesday.

“We went until 7 p.m. last night,” Michelle Lester of Capital Recovery Group said Wednesday of the prior night’s auction. “We’ll probably go later tonight. It will probably be 8:30 to 9 [p.m.]”

Three of the big-ticket items from the Lincoln mill — paper machines No. 4 and No. 5 and tissue machine No. 7, and associated components — were sold for $530,000 on Tuesday to Perry Videx of Hainesport, New Jersey, a company that refurbishes and sells industrial equipment around the world.

A second tissue machine, No. 6, was sold to an online bidder for $270,000. The name of the online bidder was not disclosed.

The auction of the property at the Lincoln mill concluded Wednesday afternoon, and the Expera auction items then hit the auction block. Items include a digester, pulp drying line, a power boiler plant and building, as well as vehicles, mostly trucks; automotive, maintenance, electrical and laboratory shop supplies; numerous pumps and motors, and items from the old and new water intake buildings.

All small items must be removed from the two mill sites by April 29, and several companies that remove heavy equipment were at the auction to assist high bidders with removing what they purchased.

The fate of the University of Maine research center for wood-based products located on the former Expera pulp mill site remains up in the air, according to UMaine Vice President of Innovation and Economic Development Jake Ward.

“They are not auctioning the building or the property itself,” he said. “We are [renting the location] month to month until they resolve selling the buildings themselves. Then, whoever eventually owns it will hopefully be our new landlord. We have good work going on and hope to continue to be there.”

Researchers within the University of Maine’s Forest Bioproducts Research Institute are working on campus to create and commercialize new wood-based bioproducts that they test on a larger scale at the Technology Research Center, which opened five years ago and is located in the mill’s former finished product storage area on the southern portion of the site.

For Tibbetts, his worry is for future generations.

“It was a good paying job, with good benefits and a 401(k) pension plan,” the Old Town resident said. “You can’t make that kind of money anymore anywhere around the area.

“I’d like to see some good-paying industry come in, but I don’t know what it would be,” he said. “All the industry is gone. All the pulp mills are gone.”