Sponsored by Forest Grove Economic Development
Home Back Issues June 2011 Mount Hood's unique economy

Mount Hood's unique economy

| Print |  Email
Articles - June 2011
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Article Index
Mount Hood's unique economy
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4
Page 5
Page 6
Page 7
Page 8
Mount Hood facts
Mount Hood tImeline
0611_MountainEcon_06
Mount Hood boasts the longest ski season in North America.
In the 1920s, loggers harvested about 25 million board feet of timber from the Mount Hood National Forest every year.  Between 1958 and 1988, the average annual harvest hovered around 300 million board feet. But economic declines and, ultimately, lawsuits in the late 1980s and early 1990s over habitat protection for endangered species like the spotted owl cut the forest’s output to a mere fraction of what it once had been. The allowable cut is now set at 64 million board feet, a number the Forest Service rarely attains.

According to Rick Acosta, a public affairs officer for the MHNF, 36 million board feet with an appraised value of $1.7 million were cut from the forest in 2010. Most of it fell under the Forest Service’s Stewardship Contract Authority, which allots a portion of timber sale receipts — $330,000 last year — for improving fish habitat and other restoration projects.

Further trimming the forest’s commercial timber output — or eliminating it altogether — would be just fine with some conservation groups, who would rather see the MHNF managed for its recreational and environmental resources.

“If there were any forest in the country that could have a management plan that is focused entirely on providing recreation opportunities and protecting ecosystems for things like clean water and carbon storage, Mount Hood would be it,” says Alex P. Brown, executive director of the Mount Hood conservation group Bark.

Others, however, say there’s room — and demand — to increase the forest's timber output.

Bill Wilkins co-owns Mt. Hood Forest Products, a sawmill just south of Hood River that employs 45 people and produces about 80 million board feet of housing lumber every year. About 2% of his logs come from the national forest; the rest come from private lands or some other form of government land. Before the spotted owl suits, he says, the ratio was almost the exact opposite.

“In our opinion, we went from a managed forest to a completely unmanaged one,” says Wilkins, who also co-owns mills in Washington and has been in the business for nearly 40 years. “It’s gone way too far the other way.”

The drop in housing starts has hit the wood products industry hard, and Wilkins says an overall shortage of logs combined with Chinese competition for logs from private land has compounded the situation. Though he doesn’t foresee any uptick in the harvest in the MHNF any time soon — the Forest Service has no plans for it either — he says an increase would be a boon to the local economy.

“We would love to see a reasonable amount of harvest,” Wilkins says. “We only run one shift here right now, but if people started building houses again and the logs were available, there’s no reason we wouldn’t add a second one.”

 



 

More Articles

Portland rises

News
Monday, August 18, 2014

IMG 2551Portland is in the middle of another construction boom, with residential and office projects springing up downtown, in the Pearl and Old Town. OB Web Editor Jessica Ridgway documents the new wave.


Read more...

Community colleges and sustainability

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, July 31, 2014
sustainabilityBY MARY SPILDE | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

Faced with the aftermath of the “great recession,” increasing concern about the environment and dwindling family wage jobs, we have some very important choices to make about our future.


Read more...

Updated: Disrupting innovation

News
Tuesday, July 08, 2014
070814 thumb disputive-innovationBY LINDA BAKER  | OB EDITOR

The New Yorker recently published a sharply worded critique of “disruptive innovation,” one of the most widely cited theories in the business world today. The article raises questions about the descriptive value of disruption and innovation  — whether the terms are mere buzzwords or actually explain today's extraordinarily complex and fast changing business environment. 

Update: We caught up with Portland's Thomas Thurston, who shared his data driven take on the disruption controversy.


Read more...

South Waterfront's revenge

News
Thursday, July 24, 2014
MoodyAveBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Remember the naysayers?  Those who called the South Waterfront aerial tram a boondoggle?  Those who rejoiced at the massive sell off of luxury condos at the John Ross and Atwater Place?


Read more...

Poll Wrap-Up

News
Friday, August 15, 2014

2014 NewPoll-report-newsletterthumbIn this week's poll, we asked readers: "Who should pay for the troubled Cover Oregon website?" Here are the results.


Read more...

OB features update

Linda Baker
Thursday, August 28, 2014
update-logo-14-thumb

As summer winds down, we update a few feature stories that appeared in our print publication this past year.


Read more...

Oregon Business wins awards

News
Monday, June 30, 2014

ASBPEOregon Business magazine won two silver awards for excellence in writing in the National American Society of Business Publication Editors Western region competition.


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