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Oregon Forest Cluster Strategy Project
Oregon's forest cluster faces fierce global competition and Oregon is losing wood products manufacturing facilities for a variety of reasons.  The forest cluster may soon no longer be able to significantly contribute to rural economies; provide the people, equipment, and wood products market access necessary to maintain the economic viability of private forestland ownership; or provide the infrastructure needed to restore overstocked forests susceptible to uncharacteristic wildfire and forest health risks. In the midst of this crisis, some positive steps have been taken, but the State of Oregon currently lacks consensus on a policy framework for a statewide forest cluster economic development strategy and institutional capacity to implement such a strategy.  Many opportunities exist to revitalize and enhance this industry's contribution to the sustainable growth of Oregon's economy.  However, the window of opportunity is short, and time is of the essence.
In November, 2007, the chairs of the Oregon Economic and Community Development Commission, Oregon Board of Forestry, Oregon Forest Resources Institute Board, and Dean of the Oregon State University College of Forestry/Director of the Oregon Forest Research Laboratory signed a joint resolution to set Oregon on a path to craft a comprehensive new forest cluster economic development strategy. The resolution directs the Oregon Economic and Community Development Department (now the Oregon Business Development Department - OBDD), Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF), Oregon Forest Resources Institute (OFRI), and the Oregon State University College of Forestry/Oregon Forest Research Laboratory (OSU) to work together to recommend a strategy and also recommend how best to build the organizational capacity within state government to play its role in successfully carrying out the strategy.  The goal and objectives for the proposed strategy are provided in the resolution.  An accompanying 2010 memorandum of agreement signed by the five agency directors (with the addition of the Oregon Department of Energy – ODOE – to the Protect Team) is an update to an original 2007 memorandum and provides more details on the actions to be accomplished. 

Joint Resolution [PDF; 5 pages; 1,217 KB]
Memorandum of Agreement [PDF; 7 pages; 494 KB]

"Forest Cluster" defined
“Forest cluster” means firms and organizations that support production of and benefits from primary and secondary wood products and a broad spectrum of forest ecosystem services and includes geographically concentrated and interconnected economic activities and linkages to customers and suppliers.  Organizations engaged in forest resource management, education, and research are also considered part of the forest cluster.

Forest Cluster Working Group Report
The Working Group was charged by the Board to provide unfiltered recommendations on how state government can best assist the sector to remain viable and globally competitive.  This initiative is built on a three-year effort by the Department of Forestry, OSU Wood Innovation Center, Oregon Business Development Department, Oregon Forest Resources Institute, and the Oregon Department of Energy to build and sustain a single, long-term comprehensive State of Oregon economic development strategy for the forest products sector. 
At the April 11, 2011 meeting, the Working Group continued to refine its recommendations and directed Department of Forestry staff on the development of the Working Group report. The draft report was then circulated for review by the 24 participating Working Group organizations and 16 of those organizations expressed formal support for the report and its recommendations.
At the June 8, 2011 Board of Forestry meeting, the working group will ask the board to accept and endorse this report.

Interagency Team
An interagency team, comprised of individuals with agencies who are signatories of the resolution and memorandum of agreement, have been meeting to implement the provisions of the resolution and the agreement.  Summaries of meeting discussions are included in the next section on project status reports.
Meetings of the interagency team are open to the public.

Karen Goddin, Oregon Business Development Department
Chris Claflin, Oregon Business Development Department
Dana Shannon, Oregon Business Development Department
Amanda Lowthian, Oregon Business Development Department
Matt Krumenauer, Oregon Department of Energy
Mike Cloughesy, Oregon Forest Resources Institute
Scott Leavengood, Oregon State University
Chris Knowles, Oregon State University
Eric Hansen, Oregon State University
Gary Lettman, Oregon Department of Forestry
David Morman, Oregon Department of Forestry

Project Status
The interagency team continues to refine a work plan listing the specific tasks called for by the joint resolution and memorandum of agreement.

Draft Recommendations/Strategy
Draft Oregon Forest Cluster Economic Development Strategy - Executive Summary (Draft dated November 19, 2008) [PDF; 3 pages; 653 KB]
Draft Forest Cluster Economic Development Strategy - Federal Forest Restoration  (Draft dated November 19, 2008) [PDF; 4 pages; 197 KB]
Draft Forest Cluster Economic Development Strategy - Forest Cluster Vitality (Draft dated November 19, 2008) [PDF; 5 pages; 231 KB]
Draft Forest Cluster Economic Development Strategy - Forestry Workforce (Draft dated November 20, 2008) [PDF; 4 pages; 132 KB]

Project Status Reports/Meeting Notes
Discussions of the interagency team and information on project status are included in each of the status reports.

Other Information

Advisory Committee and Other Public Involvement
Clearly, the Oregon Forest Cluster Economic Development Strategy must incorporate the wisdom in Oregon’s private sector.  The joint resolution calls for the formation of advisory committees to assist in the development of strategy recommendations.  Further details on the formation of advisory committees and other public involvement opportunities for this project will be posted here in the near future.
Draft Charter for a Forest Cluster Economic Development Strategy Advisory Committee (April 3, 3, 2008) [PDF; 3 pages; 214 KB]

Links to resources
Oregon Forest Resources Institute Oregon Forest Cluster Analysis
Oregon Innovation Council
Oregon Business Plan
U. S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities national survey report
Forest-based Economic Clusters: Models for Sustainable Economic Development 

Learn more . . .
You can find out more about the Oregon Forest Cluster Economic Development Strategy project by contacting:
David Morman, Director
Forest Resource Planning Program
Oregon Department of Forestry
2600 State Street
Salem, OR  97310
PH:  503-945-7413
FAX: 503-945-7490
E-MAIL: dmorman@odf.state.or.us