Sponsored by Oregon Business

Timber woes continue in east

| Print |  Email
Archives - October 2007
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

Power Players

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY ROBERT MULLIN

A new energy-sharing agreement sparks concerns about independence and collaboration in the region's utility industry.


Read more...

10 quotes explaining crisis at Port of Portland

The Latest
Friday, February 20, 2015
022015 port portland OBM-thumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

The ongoing labor disputes at the Port of Portland came to a head two weeks ago when Hanjin, the container port's largest client, notified its customers it would be ending its direct route to Oregon.


Read more...

On the Brink

March 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY APRIL STREETER | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Leslie Carlson channels the big idea.


Read more...

Downtime with the president of NAI Norris, Beggs & Simpson

March 2015
Monday, February 23, 2015
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Live, Work, Play: Catching up with Chris Johnson.


Read more...

Courtside

April 2015
Thursday, March 26, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Power lunching at the Court Street Dairy Lunch in Salem.


Read more...

Downtime with the executive director of Greater Portland Inc.

April 2015
Thursday, March 26, 2015

Janet LaBar, Executive director, Greater Portland Inc.


Read more...

Emperor of the Sea

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY COURTNEY SHERWOOD | Photos by Jason E. Kaplan

Pacific Seafood, one of the world’s largest processors, is rebranding as a more transparent and consumer-friendly operation. A controversial CEO and monopoly accusations from coastal fishermen complicate the tale.


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