Loggers association suggests federal reforms to improve forest economy

B & M Timber awarded for Canyon Creek Complex salvage.

The Eagle/Sean Hart

Associated Oregon Loggers Forest Policy Manager Rex Storm discusses the forest economy at the Associated Oregon Loggers and Oregon Department of Forestry operators dinner May 17 in John Day.

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The Eagle/Sean Hart

Oregon Department of Forestry Stewardship Forester Kirk Ausland, right, congratulates Brad Clemens of B & H Timber on receiving a Central Oregon District Merit Award for his salvage logging efforts after the Canyon Creek Complex at an ODF and Associated Oregon Loggers operators dinner May 17 in John Day.

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For the first time since 2013, the Oregon Department of Forestry and Associated Oregon Loggers hosted an operators dinner in John Day May 17, where attendees heard updates on the industry, legislation and insect problems.

Associated Oregon Loggers Fores Policy Manager Rex Storm said, although there have been changes since 2013, the forest economy remains “very slack,” with only one local mill and lean timber supply. The problem is not a shortage in demand, he said, but a lack of a “sufficient and reliable volume of timber” preventing investment in mills, making it difficult to find buyers for private logs.

While ODF primarily works with private landowners, Storm said the timber supply from the larger national forests has more impact on the logging infrastructure. He said, while the association looks forward to the completion of the forest plan revision that has been in progress for many years, he is “not optimistic” it will have the legal sufficiency for a sustainable timber supply. He said harvest levels need to double or triple to improve the economy.

Storm said he was hopeful President Donald Trump would usher in changes needed at the federal level. He said four steps would improve timber supply: a forest plan…

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