Home Archives October 2007 Timber woes continue in east

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

From the Editor: The human factor

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014

In this issue, we celebrate our 21st annual 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon project.


Read more...

Rapid ascent

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
IMG 4255-2BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Kelly Dachtler, president of The Clymb, redefines outdoor retail.


Read more...

What I'm reading: Brad Smith & Travis Boersma

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Brad Smith, founder of Hot Pepper Studios, and Travis Boersma, president of Dutch Bros. Coffee, share their recent reads.


Read more...

The solution to youth unemployment

News
Thursday, February 27, 2014
02.27.14 Thumbnail TeenworkBY ERIC FRUITS

Because they have little chance of working for someone else, today’s teens need to be entrepreneurs. But, first, we must teach our teens that entrepreneurship starts small.


Read more...

The more they change, the more they stay the same

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
100-best-collageBY BRANDON SAWYER

The 100 Best Companies get more creative with perks and more generous with benefits; employees seek empowering relations with management and coworkers.


Read more...

Green your workplace

News
Thursday, April 03, 2014
100Green14logo200oxBY OB STAFF

Learn how to green your workplace and lower your environmental footprint at the office. Oregon Business presents a two-hour "Greening Your Workplace" seminar on May 28th, 2014 at the Nines Hotel in Portland.


Read more...

Branching out

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
DSC04185BY LINDA BAKER

A blueberry bush is a blueberry bush — except when it’s a blueberry tree.


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