Home Back Issues August 2009 Timber cash stuck in the muck

Timber cash stuck in the muck

| Print |  Email
Archives - August 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009

There has been a lot of hopeful hype this summer that timber may be poised for a comeback.

The optimism has nothing to do with economics. Lumber prices and production are down more than 25% from a year ago, and they weren’t that strong then. The housing slump has pulverized demand for building products, and no state has suffered more than Oregon, the largest lumber producer in the nation.

So it’s not surprising that forestry companies are lining up hungrily for federal stimulus money to put their people back to work preventing wildfires, converting wood scraps into biofuel and fixing bridges, roads and culverts.

Over $123 million worth of Oregon-based stimulus projects had been approved by the U.S. Forest Service as of July, including a $3.25 million youth jobs program, tens of millions of dollars worth of various fire prevention efforts, $1.25 million to restore sand dunes on the coast, $2 million to improve fish habitat in Douglas County, $5 million for the Warm Springs tribe’s woody biomass enterprise and $5 million for a new wood pellet plant in Grant County.

But the money has been slow to flow, clogged by a process that Jim Geisinger, executive vice president of Associated Oregon Loggers, calls a “bureaucratic nightmare” with “a lot of talk but very little action.”

Geisinger says only two forestry projects have received stimulus money, and both were simply expansions of previously approved fuel reduction projects in the Deschutes National Forest.

Peggy Kain, an assistant director at the Forest Service’s Portland office, says, “Everyone on all sides is really scrambling to get things finished, but it’s still a little ways out before they can go.”

Months have already passed. Not long after the passage of the $789 billion stimulus bill in February, the Oregon Department of Forestry compiled and submitted a list of 217 projects worth $252 million to be considered for federal stimulus funds in the spring.

As of mid July, none of these projects had launched, and the return of the fire season makes it unlikely any of the fire prevention projects will be completed this year, ODF spokesman Rod Nichols says.

ODF is also applying for $14 million in stimulus money from NOAA Fisheries to hire contractors to restore streams and improve fish habitat. As of mid July, none of those projects has launched either.

BEN JACKLET
 

More Articles

Buyer's Remorse

September 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Parents and students paying for college today are like homeowners who bought a house just before the housing bubble burst.


Read more...

College Hacker

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY KLINT FINLEY

Treehouse CEO Ryan Carson builds a 21st-century trade school.


Read more...

Shipping News

September 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
BY JENNIFER MARGULIS

In 2012 The Dalles, a city of some 14,400 located 75 miles east of Portland and often seen as the poor cousin to adjacent Hood River, completed a massive project to revitalize its dock.


Read more...

October surprise

News
Sunday, October 12, 2014
roundup-logo-thumb-14BY LINDA BAKER

Cylvia Hayes, tabloid vs. watchdog journalism and the looming threat of a Cascadia earthquake.


Read more...

Semiconductor purgatory

News
Monday, October 06, 2014
roundup-logo-thumb-14BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Intel's manufacturing way station; Merkley's attack dog; Diamond Foods gets into the innovation business.


Read more...

Molecular Movies

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

Dr. Chong Fang isn’t God. But the assistant professor of chemistry at Oregon State University is getting closer to figuring out how he put everything together. 


Read more...

Podcast: Turn Things Around with David Marquet

Contributed Blogs
Friday, October 17, 2014
davidmarquet thumbBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

How can you move from a command-and-control leadership model to one of true empowerment and accountability? David Marquet did, and he took notes along the way.


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