Douglas County Commissioner Tim Freeman has been re-elected president of the Association of Oregon and California Counties.
The association elected its 2019 leaders at its annual meeting on Dec. 7 in Eugene.
The association advocates for sustained yield management of federal O&C timberlands, as required by federal law under the O&C Act. County governments in counties where O&C timberlands are located are supposed to receive money from O&C timber harvests. As harvests have been curtailed in recent decades, Douglas County has struggled to maintain funding for core programs and has responded with new fees at its parks and landfill, reducing health programs and turning the countywide library system over to local cities and volunteer groups.
“I am honored to have unified support from the members of AOCC to continue this crucially important work,” Freeman said in a written statement. “Together with my colleagues and the staff at AOCC, we are working hard to find solutions to manage the unique congressional designated lands.”
AOCC is governed by an 11-member board of directors with three officers who are elected annually.
Throughout 2018, AOCC and its members engaged elected officials and federal agencies on a variety of issues affecting the O&C counties, including management of O&C lands, timber receipt revenues to counties, and federal forest management reforms pending in the U.S. Congress.
In 2018, AOCC’s advocacy resulted in increased federal payments to the O&C counties of more than $4.1 million for essential public services.
AOCC also argues that restoration of O&C harvests will benefit local workers. Approximately one-quarter of Douglas County’s labor force is employed in the forest products industry, which includes numerous sawmills and veneer plants, as well as one pulp and one particle board plant, and numerous shingle, shake, pole, and other wood products plants.