Is Tiller being overlooked by big city Roseburg?

Sitting here as the sun rises over the ridge. It is 9:15 a.m., Wednesday, and I’m contemplating perspectives. Where does the sun rise where you are each morning? Do you notice?

I’m also thinking about our community out here far from Roseburg. It feels like it has been abandoned and forgotten. Milo to Tiller. Too many empty homes and properties in Tiller, the town owned by an absentee corporation. The Umpqua National Forest is creating a plan for shuttering the offices and houses it maintains at the Tiller Ranger Station.

Since Tiller is unincorporated it is dependent on the county commissioners to provide services. What services? Yes, we have a maintained and herbicide highway passing through. The highway improved so it could more quickly carry our precious natural resources to mills in Riddle, White City and Roseburg. Tim Freeman comes when there are major forest fires. Does he ever really look at and see our community? Does he care about the people and not just the potential lumber makers? When was the last time Chris Boice was here besides the meeting with two of us three years ago which devolved into a total failure? When has Tom Kress visited our community?

I give thanks to the people working hard to hold us together. The South Umpqua Community Church, the newly opened Pit Stop store and restaurant and Bear Market up at Jackson Creek, The Tiller and Milo Fire departments.

The year 2022 will find me working to connect our community members and find some solutions. We’ve accomplished a lot and yet these opportunities disappear faster than we can create them. Why do I remember all the activities of the past in Tiller? Because it represents opportunities that can still be manifested into successes.

If you're interested in submitting a Letter to the Editor, click here.

Joanne Gordon

Days Creek

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(10) comments


Thanks, Joanne

Obviously Tom doesn't know you at all. I've never met a sweeter and more genuine, selfless person, who truly cares about the citizens in her community.

Tom Wingo

This letter and the comments below are nothing more than a political hit piece and anti-commissioner click bait. I have lived, worked and continue to recreate in the Tiller area. The past economic peak of that area corresponded with the peak timber harvest on the Tiller Ranger District. The drivers being timber workers and Forest Service employees who lived in the area to support these harvests. I remember a time when you had the Tiller Store, another store up by Jackson Creek, and Ronk's Mountain Tavern all thriving -- as well as enough young workers with families in the timber and Forest Service jobs to support an elementary school. Joanne is a strong anti-timber advocate -- which ironically is a position that has contributed more to the economic down turn of the area than anything the Commissioner may or may not be doing. The forest service has not maintained their roads in years -- once you get past the County maintenance (near the landfill transfer site) It's overgrown with brush, heavily potholed, washed out, goes from pavement to sections of gravel, and is not conducive to the "tourism" that the letter writer would like to see developed. Those roads used to be highly maintained with timber dollars -- no log trucks, no money, no need to maintain the roads (I don't think you could even get a log truck through some sections of that road safely anymore). You want tourism, you need a way for them to conveniently get to where they want to go, a place to refuel, and a place to get supplies and food. Whether you agree with harvesting timber or not -- harvesting timber brought those things to Tiller.

The Forest Service has also blocked off a lot of spur roads further limiting recreational access. An even bigger issue is that the it looks like the Forest Services is going to move the Ranger Station to Canyonville -- further drawing people away from living in that area (once the school closed, that eliminated the ability to draw in employees with families as well). To blame the Commissioners for these issues is ridiculous. To think that some other form of County government would solve these problems is also disingenuous -- when it is the environmental groups that want this form of government thinking that this would better facilitate their own political agenda. This letter isn't about the economic development of the Tiller community -- its about a competing political agenda with the status quo. If that's what you want, just say it and let's have a real debate over political platforms and policies.


Tom, Having lived in the Tiller area for 50 years, worked for the forest service and done forest contract work; I disagree with your perspective and agree with Joanne Gordon. We could get in a pissing match on those issues but it would be a waste time for both of us. The main point I feel a need to express is I understand the commissioners may be able to influence decisions but have no control over the Forest Service. One thing they do control is the transfer site. It's a small thing but an irritation that it is only open one day a week and that is on a day that many people work. Another thing they have control over is helping get economic development $$ and possibly SRS to the hinterlands. They won't even talk with us about what might help. I witnessed a meeting Ms. Gordon had with Chris Boice and his introductory remark was "Why should I do anything for your community if "you" don't vote for me. That killed any hope of having a meeting with the community to find solutions. He even rejected the materials presented showing what the community is working on to help itself. He didn't even look at the Tiller Trails, brochure or Taste Tiller/See Tiller or information about the improvements made at the county park the community adopted and is maintaining. In my opinion, he cut his own nut.


I've said it before and I'm saying it again....we need FIVE commissioners, but each one needs to come from a different area - Reedsport, Upriver, Tiller, Roseburg and Drain....the boundaries could easily be drawn and the person needs to be within those lines to represent those people.


Perhaps it's time to bring up the Home Rule Charter again. It makes sense to me to have representation from areas in our county with differing issues. From 2017:



First, thanks for that link. I agree with you.

I supported Home Rule back then, and still do. I think it's likely one of those nice things we just can't have, because money and power are in the hands of too few. I think we'd have far better governance with a board of commissioners, unpaid, and from throughout the county (representing all their diverse interests), much as the boards of community colleges like UCC. This board would be responsible for overall policies and strategies, all executed by a paid professional county manager and professional staff.

The proposal back in 2017 was for just 5 board members. Seems to me, we ought to have about twice that many; UCC has seven, and that seems to me to be on the low side of ideal.


Joe, I was also in favor of it. In thinking more about this, and having just purchased a webcam, using two commissioner's annual salary could provide each one with the tech needed for virtual meetings, plus mileage per-diem for traveling in their area and to in-person meetings. Who would be opposed to saving money for the County, save for 3 fellas? The new commissioners would have to log into the County system for virtual meetings, submit travel vouchers and provide periodic public reports (not on social media) of the issues facing the entire County. What a concept, allowing everyone more information.


Thank you, Joanne. I live in an area that is similarly less than an afterthought for the commissioners.

We need commissioners that represent the people, rather than monied interests, and commissioners who are--at least some of them--not Roseburg-centric. Two-thirds of Douglas County lives outside Roseburg.

We need a County Commissioner like you.



Tom Wingo


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