For immediate release
February 1, 2013
Contact: Dan Postrel, 503-945-7420
A state Board of Forestry subcommittee will meet February 5 to begin exploring ways in which the full board can most effectively work toward change in the management of federal forestlands.
The group’s formation signals a renewed board focus on issues involving federally owned forests, particularly the drier forests of eastern and interior southwestern Oregon. The challenges include deteriorating forest health, high fire danger, and economic hardship in communities dependent on federal timber harvests, which have declined significantly since the late 1980s.
At its February 5 workshop, the subcommittee will begin to scope ways to carry out its charge. The group is expected to present the full board in June with a clear statement of the case for state involvement in federal forest policy, and with principles to help shape policy changes.
In ongoing work beyond June, the group is assigned to generate ideas, provide capacity for board work with other leaders and groups, and help shape a board field visit to northeast Oregon in July.
Federally owned forests account for about 60 percent of Oregon’s forestland base, and their management affects the health and sustainability of Oregon’s forest resource as a whole. The full board heard a variety of perspectives on federal forest issues in January, including remarks from Governor John Kitzhaber, who urged the board to join him and other leaders in seeking solutions.
Nils Christoffersen of Enterprise chairs the subcommittee, whose other members are Tom Insko of La Grande and Cindy Deacon Williams of Medford. Board Chair Tom Imeson of Portland, who has expressed an intent to use subcommittees to focus on major board topics, will serve in an ex-officio capacity. The governor’s office will also name an advisor to the committee.
The workshop, held by telephone conference, will run from 1-2 p.m. Members of the public can listen from the Clatsop Room, in Building C of the Oregon Department of Forestry’s headquarters at 2600 State Street in Salem.
Accommodations for people with disabilities, and special materials, services, or assistance can be arranged by calling 503-945-7200, at least 24 hours before the meeting.
About the board
The Oregon Board of Forestry consists of seven citizens nominated by the governor and confirmed by the Oregon Senate. Responsibilities include appointing the state forester, setting management direction for state-owned forests, adopting rules governing timber harvest and other practices on private forestland, and promoting sustainable management of Oregon’s 30 million-acre forestland base.