Timber woes continue in east

| Print |  Email
Monday, October 01, 2007

{safe_alt_text}

EASTERN OREGON Recent lumber mill closures announced in three eastern Oregon counties have sucker- punched the region’s economy. Approximately 198 jobs have dried up with the closings of the Grant Western mill in John Day and the Wallowa Forest Products mill, both operated by D.R Johnson, and the Louisiana-Pacific mill in Hines. State forest officials say that the number of mills operating in the east this year dropped from 13 to 10, and the region’s timber harvest declined to historic lows. Factors include a decline in local timber supplies, spiking gas prices and falling timber prices.

Those 198 jobs in counties where the total population is about 22,000 is the equivalent of the Portland metro area losing more than 26,000 jobs, according to state calculations. In Harney and Grant counties, which already have among the highest unemployment rates in the state, the loss of well-paying mill jobs is especially acute. In 2006, Harney’s annual unemployment rate was 8.2%, and Grant’s was 8.4%; the state average was 5.4%.

Coupled with fires that are ravaging forests and drought that is hurting farming and ranching, a coalition of eastern county officials recently gathered under the rallying cry of “enough is enough,” says Harney County judge Steve Grasty. But the issue is longer-lived than just the recent fire and drought. Grasty says current federal timber policy has resulted in tinderbox stands of dead trees on federal land, while mills and jobs suffer. He says the coalition will advocate for forest practices that are beneficial to both forests and communities and allow more local timber to be cut. Some conservation groups oppose more logging in national forests.

“Our future is somewhere between doing nothing,” says Grasty, “and doing what we used to do.”

ROBIN DOUSSARD

Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


 

 

More Articles

Fly Zone

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JOE ROJAS-BURKE

The black soldier fly’s larvae are among the most ravenous and least picky eaters on earth.


Read more...

Old school: Paulsen's Pharmacy maintains old fashion ethos

The Latest
Thursday, December 18, 2014
121914-pharmacy-thumbBY MEGHAN NOLT

VIDEO: Under the radar — complete with a soda counter, the traditional Paulsen's Pharmacy looks to compete with big box retailers.


Read more...

Woman of Steel

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

Tamara Lundgren tackles the challenges—without getting trampled.


Read more...

Corner Office: Sheree Arntson

January-Powerbook 2015
Saturday, December 13, 2014

Checking in with the managing director of Arnerich Massena.


Read more...

The short list: 5 hot coffee shops for entrepreneurs

Contributed Blogs
Friday, November 14, 2014

CupojoeBY JESSICA RIDGWAY

Oregon entrepreneurs reveal their favorite caffeine hangouts.


Read more...

Corner Office: Marv LaPorte

January-Powerbook 2015
Saturday, December 13, 2014

The president of LaPorte & Associates lets us in on his day-to-day life.


Read more...

I Know How You Feel

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

Most smartphones come equipped with speech recognition systems like Siri or Cortana that are capable of understanding the human voice and putting words into actions. But what if smartphones could do more? What if smartphones could register feeling?


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS