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Eastside mills, loggers come to aid of coastal flood victims
Contact: Rod Nichols, 503-945-7425     
Vernonia residents stricken by the December floods in coastal Oregon received a helping hand from east of the Cascades last weekend in the form of much-needed firewood to heat their homes.
Don Bodewig of DR Johnson Lumber, Prairie City, donated an entire truck load of dry pine logs. Russ Young and Iron Triangle Logging of John Day delivered the logs to Pendleton, where Richard Dodge and Blue Mountain Lumber Co. completed the relay by hauling them to Vernonia.
A team of volunteers made up of foresters and local residents will cut, split and deliver the firewood - estimated at eight cords - to local residents on April 26. 
Project organizer Bob Alverts of the Society of American Foresters (SAF), and a former Bureau of Land Management area manager for Grant County in the 1970s, cited a long list of businesses and individuals on both sides of the Cascades for making the donation possible.
"Thanks to these generous rural colleagues from Grant and Umatilla counties, helping their friends in need in Columbia County," the retired forester said. "And, thanks to Darren Mahr of the Oregon Department of Forestry for arranging for the load of logs."  
The unusually cool spring has extended the heating season in Vernonia, he noted, further adding to the need for firewood.
To date, the Woodcut Project, sponsored by Oregon SAF, has cut, split and delivered 28 cords of firewood to the flood victims. But Alverts and his team of volunteers don't plan to put up their chainsaws anytime soon.   
There is more work to do," he said. "We will continue to find additional sources of logs and we'll plan at least several more days cutting wood."
Forest products companies Weyerhaeuser, Longview Timber and Green Diamond Resources, along with the Bureau of Land Management, have all provided logs or wood for cutting.
Stihl Northwest of Chehalis, Washington and Precision Pump and Power Equipment of Banks, Oregon have provided chainsaws and other equipment and supplies for the volunteer woodcutters.
Alverts encouraged eastside residents who have logs or wood that they would like to donate to the Vernonia storm victims to contact him - 503-639-0405, balverts@teleport.com.
"In a town of only about 2,500 people, more than 800 homes were flooded," he said, "and many residents are living temporarily in FEMA trailers."