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Awards recognize excellence in Oregon forest practices
Awards recognize excellence in Oregon forest practices
January 9, 2008
Contact: Kevin Weeks (503) 945-7427
 (Salem) – The Oregon Board of Forestry today recognized three Oregon businesses as Forest Practices Operators of the Year for 2007. Awards are presented to employers in the state Department of Forestry’s three operating regions.  
Northwest Oregon- MORISSE LOGGING, INC.
Morisse Logging, owned by Steve Morisse of Astoria, was recognized as the Northwest Oregon region Operator of the Year for the company’s excellence while logging on steep, nearly inaccessible slopes.
Morisse was honored for a timber harvest project near Cannon Beach. The site was a nearly vertical cliff, with fragile soils and stream tributaries. The Oregon Forest Practices Act, which regulates timber harvest, contains specific provisions for resource protection in such areas.
 “This may have been the most challenging job of my career,” said Steve Morisse. Given many different options for logging the site, Morisse chose downhill logging. The choice was a good one; no injuries or near misses were reported on the project.
 “With downhill logging, the advantage is not having loose debris on the slope above where your loggers are,” said Ashley Lertora, stewardship forester with ODF’s Astoria district office. “The disadvantage is that some people regard downhill logging as expensive and less effective. Steve Morisse was willing to accept lower production in exchange for crew safety and protection of the soil.”
Scott Allen Logging, owned by Scott and Carrie Lynne Allen of Oakland, received the Southwest Oregon recognition as Operator of the Year for excellence while logging adjacent to residences, schools and electric utilities. Scott Allen overcame many obstacles at a recent harvest in and adjacent to the Douglas County community of Drain.
 “The main thing was planning ahead,” said Allen. “I didn’t want people downtown looking up on the hillside and seeing a cluttered mess. For the Drain project, we did leave several stands of merchantable timber up simply to preserve the scenic value of the hillside. Keep in mind, about 90 percent of the residents of Drain could walk out of their homes and see our project on the hill. I wanted those folks to see something nice – rather than a clear-cut.”
Allen gained attention – and more contracts – from a previous strategic harvest at Rice Valley along Interstate 5 in 2006. In addition to carefully logging the area, Allen spent his own money to remove slash (limbs and other debris left after harvest) and clean the site, which due to several stands of scenic timber being intentionally left, tended to blend into the landscape.
“Just about anybody in the country could drive by that,” said Allen. “I wanted it to look good.”
Gary R. Wright Contracting, owned by Gary and Nancy Wright of Union, was honored as the Eastern Oregon regional Operator of the Year for the company’s excellence in comprehensive timberland management. The focus of the award was Wright’s work coordinating a large harvest project near Mt. Emily in Union County.
 “On the Mt. Emily project we started at the top and worked our way towards town,” said Wright. “We had a number of landowners see that we were doing thinning, then mulching and cleaning up the area as well as doing fire prevention. The next neighbor said I’d like mine done that way, then the next neighbor, and next thing you know we have a project.”
Wright worked to educate and coach neighboring landowners about long-term management plans and the benefits of working together on fuel reduction, fire protection and marketing wood debris for biomass energy uses. By the time the project was complete, Wright had helped local landowners establish a 2.5-mile-long fire protection buffer on private land that borders U.S. Forest Service land.
Oregon Department of Forestry stewardship foresters selected the nominees for the awards. Advisory committees that work with the Board of Forestry on forest practices issues in each region then toured each of the nominee work sites to determine the winners.
The Board of Forestry also recognized seven recipients of the 2007 Forest Practices Merit Awards at today’s meeting:
  • J.M. Browning Logging Company, Inc. (Astoria)
  • D & S Contractors (Sweet Home)
  • DTL Logging Company (Philomath)
  • Euchre Mountain Construction (Tillamook)
  • Meriwether Southern Oregon Lands and Timber LLC (Medford)
  • Moore and Hueckman (Canyon City)
  • Tree-O Logging (Chiloquin)
The Board of Forestry sets policy and oversees the Department of Forestry, which provides services to achieve balanced management of Oregon's forest resources to produce sustainable environmental, economic and social benefits. Additional information about the Board and department is available at www.oregon.gov/ODF