In Washington, D.C., today Douglas County Commissioner Tim Freeman asked Congress to pass reforms to improve the health of federally-owned forests and create jobs in rural, forested communities. Freeman is president of the Association of O&C Counties, representing 17 western Oregon counties covering 2.1 million acres of O&C timberlands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Freeman testified to the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee’s Federal Lands Subcommittee during a hearing on the draft of the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017, meant to improve forest management in federal, BLM and tribal lands. Freeman talked about rural western Oregon’s federally-owned forests that have become off-limits to active forest management, which he blamed on federal laws and regulations.

He said the BLM’s new resource management plans for the region will restrict sustained-yield forestry further.

The federal government owns more than half of the land base in some O&C counties, but does not pay property taxes. Because counties share half of the timber revenues from O&C Lands, Freeman said counties will need to make additional cuts to public services, unless congressional reforms of federal forest policies take place.

“Through sustained yield management, the O&C Lands can contribute to the economy of local communities and county governments and simultaneously provide a wide range of forest values such as recreation, wildlife habitats, clean water, wood products, and carbon storage,” Freeman said.

Commissioner Freeman’s full written testimony can be found at www.oandc.org under News.

Reporter Emily Hoard can be reached at 541-957-4217 or ehoard@nrtoday.com.

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Business, Natural Resources and Outdoors Reporter

Emily Hoard is the business, outdoors and natural resources reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at 541-957-4217 or by email at ehoard@nrtoday.com. Follow her on Twitter @hoard_emily.

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(5) comments

exdep425

*****I moved to Douglas County in 1972 and by memory there were 24 working, timber related mills in the county. Now I believe there are only 9 and they have downsized. That is a loss of 60+%. Some mills were small with only 6-8 employees, but some like Roseburg Lumber in Green and Dixonville had losses of hundreds each. When you factor in less fallers, log site workers, log truck drivers, mechanics, and related jobs it is many thousands. But, for every 100 jobs lost, you also lose 10 jobs that were supported by the logging employees, such as grocery stores, hardware stores, car lots, retail stores and more. Automation only took some jobs, not all, as the costs to automate did not always pan out. If they started with big logs and then had to switch over to dog hair logs , that meant more costs to re-automate. The asinine spotted owl thing was all a joke. It has been proven that spotted owls have been seen in xmas tree farms in Washington state and second growth as well. The areas logged back in the 70's are now ready to cut again and if cut will be ready again in 45 more years. With mandatory replanting laws, it is common sense the trees will go on for ever. At one time, back in the 60's through the early 80's, there were over 300 log truck loads a day coming down the North Umpqua highway. Now I have seen less than 10 a day. Any one that says recreational tourism will replace those lost logging wages are not in touch with reality. AND, remember this, all environmentalists live in wooden built homes, so throw that in their face next time they protest.

Creeksend

Timmy and his cohorts need to quit lying about the "Federal Government does not pay taxes" ..that is because it is against the law for the Federal Government to pay taxes! They DO PAY however! They pay a sum of money called P.I.L.T. (Payment In Lieu of Taxes) If they do not think they are getting enough money from the Federal government, why do they not ask for a raise in the PILT??Because they want the Timber Barons to get richer. The jobs have gone to automation. The only jobs not automated are the trucking jobs. Big logs or skinny logs, they have to get off the site. The Commissioners tell you bald -faced lies, and if you continue to believe them without researching these things and asking tougher questions then we will all be paying through the nose in the next decade.
They work for the corporations in Douglas County, not the citizens.

InDWoods

The "Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017" that Tim was testifying on: https://naturalresources.house.gov/uploadedfiles/discussion_draft_--_resilient_federal_forests_act_of_2017.pdf could go a long way to streamlining the process of getting federal timber sales out in a timely manner.

Creeksend

"Getting the cut out" only results in more money for the government and the corporations. Everybody here knows that except the child loggers. Automation has taken every job except trucking. Tim Freeman is flogging a dead horse and he is lucky he has a corporatocracy in the driver seat who wants to listen to him. Short term gains, and we end up with a sales tax in the end, no matter how far we kick that can down the road. The better idea is to formulate a long term plan that works. And we need new leadership to do that. One that does not suck at the teats of the DTO.

exdep425

***Creeksend. I disagree that automation has taken 100% of the logging jobs. The spotted owl started in the early 80's and not all mills were automated back then, but were forced to close or cut back due to log shortages. How can you have a long term plan, if one has never existed in over 45 years I am aware of in this county? Do you remember the glass factory that wanted to come to the Wilbur area about 25 years ago and the commissioners said they were not interested? That was a potential of 300 jobs that went somewhere else.

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