Sponsored by Oregon Business

Timber split

| Print |  Email
Articles - April 2013
Monday, April 01, 2013

To understand why forest management in eastern and western Oregon will probably take different paths, start with some background on the state’s timber industry. First, contrary to what many may believe, many on the industry and environmental sides say the state’s wood products industry is not dead — far from it.

Although many mills have shut down in the last 15 years, between 1995 and 2012 the timber-processing capacity of the remaining large mills increased 25% above the industry’s 1995 levels, according to environmental consultant Andy Kerr, owner of the Larch Company, an Ashland-based conservation group. Numerous mill owners have retooled their operations to be more efficient and to be able to mill smaller-diameter logs, which is where the industry is inevitably headed. And as old markets dwindle, such as plywood and U.S. home building, new ones are emerging, biomass and Chinese home builders among them.

“Housing starts have been extremely low for years,” says Jennifer Phillippi of the family-owned-and-operated Rough & Ready Lumber in Cave Junction. “But family formations continue, which will translate into a pent-up demand for new homes that is bound to explode. So we see a bright future for our industry here, if we can get some of these issues worked out.”

As Phillippi points out, the industry may have stagnated, but there are still lots of trees in Oregon to be harvested under the right conditions. Still, the changes that have washed over the industry have taken a toll on jobs and dollars flowing into rural economies. The industry’s infrastructure has been badly undercut, and key players in the debate over harvests remain dug into their positions. Around the state, the sector has essentially been on hold for years, awaiting some guidelines that would allow it to either proceed or continue to consolidate.

To move forward with harvesting, it may simply be unfeasible to try to satisfy all the parties at the timber table, says Kerr. “There is a bright future for the forest products industry in Oregon,” Kerr says. “But the industry won’t look the same as it did before the spotted owl.”

The industry will also look different in the eastern and western parts of the state. The reasons for those differences are rooted in geography and industry infrastructure capacity.

0413 TimberSplit Graph500px




0 #1 mixed messagesGuest 2013-04-18 22:11:16
I keep learning as I travel how far in the forefront Oregon is in recycling and applauding our “Green” businesses. I was in Utah recently, they don’t recycle at all – they get bigger garbage cans. Oregonians are striving to cut down on plastic bags and switch to paper bags. While in China I traveled into the farm lands and was shocked at the amount of plastic bags along the roads, mixed in the dirt in the fiels, piled on the sides of their streams. Then in Vietnam something else really hit home – granite. They are tearing down their extremely artistic granite hills at an alarming speed. Marble is another product of the earth that is being used for everything from kitchen and bathroom counters to statues of Buddha. Mining and rock crushing also leave huge and permanent scars on our earth.

Then I ask why some people are against using wood for building homes, schools, buildings, etc. It is biodegradable, naturally reproduces itself, can also be planted for another harvest in 40 to 60 years does not harm the environment, can be used to produce electricity instead of blocking our rivers and is one of Oregon’s chief natural resources for producing financial growth. It’s perfect. Oregon is lucky.

One little side note – a little motor scooter puts out more harmful emissions than a wood burning co-generation plant that produces enough electricity to supply 13,000 homes.
Quote | Report to administrator

More Articles

The God complex

Linda Baker
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
093015-zydellren-thumbBY LINDA BAKER | EDITOR

The media coverage about Pope Francis must have put me in a Biblical frame of mind. Because after touring the latest phase of the South Waterfront development, a mind boggling 1.5 million square feet of office and retail space that will spring up north of the aerial tram over the next few years, I couldn’t stop thinking about the massive project as a modern day creation story.


Straight shooter

Linda Baker
Thursday, October 08, 2015
100815-bradleyBY LINDA BAKER

In an era dominated by self-promotion and marketing speak, John Bradley, CEO of R&H Construction, is a breath of fresh air.


The List: 100 Best Nonprofits to Work For in Oregon

October 2015
Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Oregon Business magazine’s seventh annual 100 Best Nonprofits to Work For project attracted more than 150 nonprofits from around the state from a variety of sectors, including social services and environmental advocacy.  More than 5,000 employees and volunteers filled out the survey, rating their satisfaction with work environment, mission and goals, career development and learning, benefits and compensation, and management and communications.


There's a great future in plastics

Linda Baker
Friday, October 30, 2015
103115-lindachinathumbBY LINDA BAKER

This is a story about a small plastics company in wine country now exporting more than one million feet — 260 miles worth — of tubing to China every month.


The Food Pod Grows Up

November/December 2015
Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Oregon's first generation of food entrepreneurs created a brand based on quality and craftsmanship. Can the second generation sustain it?


The Harder They Fall

November/December 2015
Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Storyteller-in-Chief by the managing partner of Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt.


Tinker, Tailor, Portland Maker

November/December 2015
Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The artisan generation redefines manufacturing.

Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02