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

 



 

Comments   

 
Guest
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

Cache and Curry

March 2015
Monday, February 23, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Power Lunch at Swagat in Hillsboro.


Read more...

10 Twitter highlights from #OR100Best

The Latest
Friday, February 27, 2015
100bestBY OB STAFF

Oregon Business held its  22nd annual 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon celebration Thursday night in the Oregon Convention Center.


Read more...

Thy neighbor's house

March 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Vacasa may lack the name recognition of Airbnb. But not for long.


Read more...

Beam Me Up

April 2015
Thursday, March 19, 2015
BY DAN COOK | Photos by Jason E. Kaplan

An alliance of developers, academics and timber industry executives wants to position Oregon as a front runner in the glamorous new world of wooden skyscrapers.


Read more...

Umbrella Revolution

March 2015
Monday, February 23, 2015

Yeah, we know: Oregonians are way too cool for umbrellas. But today’s stylish, high-tech models will soften the resistance of the most rain hardened.


Read more...

Footloose

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Founded 12 years ago, Keen Inc. likes to push the envelope, starting with the debut of the “Newport” closed toe sandal in 2003. Since then, the company has opened a factory on Swan Island and a sleek new headquarters in the Pearl District. The brand’s newest offering, UNEEK, is a sandal made from two woven cords and not much more.


Read more...

Opening soon: 3 of the coolest new breweries in Oregon

The Latest
Thursday, March 19, 2015
brewthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

There are 278 companies licensed to operate as brewery, according to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. Here are three new beer-making hubs slated to open soon.


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