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Oregon honors the 2008 Forest Practices Operators of the Year
From Left to Right:
Harve Dethlefs, Bighorn Logging
Butch Wright, Huffman-Wright
Levi Watterson, Watterson Logging
John Blackwell, Chair, Board of Forestry
Rusty Watterson, Watterson Logging
Samuel Howard, Stimson Lumber Co.
Mike Huffman, Huffman-Wright
Jim Bakke, Huffman-Wright
January 12, 2009
Contact: Kevin Weeks, (503) 945-7427
The Oregon Board of Forestry recently recognized several Oregon forest operators for a commitment to innovation and protecting natural resources while harvesting timber. Four companies were presented with 2008’s Forest Practices Operator of the Year awards during the Board’s January 7, 2009 meeting.
Winners are selected by Oregon’s Regional Forest Practices Advisory Committees, who evaluate nominees based on an operator’s consistency of positive performance, innovation in project design, relative difficulty of a harvest operation and a commitment to protecting Oregon’s natural resources as a basis for selecting a winner from three regions of the state.

Northwest Oregon Region (shared award)
Photo of deflection berm under construction near Forest Grove, Oregon - courtesy Stimson LC
Bighorn Logging (Banks)
Stimson Lumber Company (Forest Grove)
Stimson and Bighorn collaborated to construct a deflection berm at the foot of Gales Peak northwest of Forest Grove, an area historically prone to landslides. The deflection berm was designed to steer potential debris flows into an open pasture, where the flow could lose energy and come to rest without jeopardizing homes down the slope; the berm also allows a drinking water stream to continue undisturbed thanks to a 160 foot long culvert buried within the berm.
“This was a very unique and ambitious project,” said Eric Perkins, the ODF stewardship forester who evaluated Stimson’s project. “This is the first berm system I’ve encountered in a twenty-year career as a forester. Bighorn Logging also maintains a solid corporate philosophy with over 30 years of commitment to western Washington County.”
By stabilizing the hillside above, and protecting the homes below the unit, Stimson was able to harvest a 32 acre unit upslope and, by developing the protective berm, improved the landslide risk factors for their property which creates future harvest opportunities on additional units upslope. Construction of the berm system, performed by Bighorn Logging, was financed by Stimson.

Southwest Oregon Region
Photo of Huffman-Wright harvest near Azalea, Oregon
Huffman-Wright (Canyonville)
Huffman-Wright was honored for a timber harvest near Azalea in Douglas County. The project, performed on Seneca Jones Timber property, involved two separate units which bordered Whitehorse Creek and the North Fork of Whitehorse Creek, waterways that are tributaries of Cow Creek.
Protection to fish and streams between the harvest zones appeared to be nearly an impossible task, perhaps even a deal-breaker. The two fish-bearing streams required protection and the four log landings would be very close to sensitive riparian management areas.
Jim Bakke, foreman for Huffman-Wright, envisioned the solution.  Bakke’s concept for the harvest operation hinged on using a large tower equipped with nearly a mile-long skyline system.  This solution would rely heavily on Bakke’s creativity and experience to get the logs to a distant landing for loading on waiting log trucks.
Simply put, the logs from Unit Two were logged to the same landing as Unit One.  The long span skyline was equipped with a motorized carriage to move logs to the landing.  There was a problem right from the start.  The skyline was so high at the far end of Unit Two that the carriage would not return to this location by gravity.  Bakke used an extra block on the skyline, attached by a cable to a bull dozer, to bend the skyline low enough for the carriage to reach this location.  The logs from Unit Two were raised well above the vegetation and the heads (or gills) of unsuspecting fish in the stream below.
“Jim’s idea made sense for several reasons,” said Jack Tannehill, ODF stewardship forester who worked with the operator and landowner to help reach a solution. “The set up allowed the operator the opportunity to completely lift the logs over the riparian areas instead of dragging the logs down hill and through them to get to the landing.” 
The operation was completed with minimal damage to the sensitive water resources and riparian areas. This is the second time within five years Huffman-Wright has been honored for their work. The company was recognized by the Board of Forestry as a Forest Practices Operator of the Year award winner in 2006.

Eastern Oregon Region
View from Watterson operation site in Grant County
Watterson Logging (John Day)
Watterson was recognized for two harvest operations that consisted of 66 acres of pre-commercial thinning, slash treatment, fuel reduction and minor commercial harvest in eastern Grant County.
“Watterson Logging consistently strives to do a good job,” said Kirk Ausland, ODF stewardship forester in John Day. “They have been in business for many years in Grant County and are known as a trustworthy operator in this region.”
Watterson was faced with densely overgrown mixed conifer stands on steep, north facing slopes adjacent to federal-owned lands. Given the difficulty of the job, Watterson Logging completed this harvest with exceptional results.
The harvest operation resulted in an evenly-spaced mixed conifer stand that will be resistant to catastrophic fire, disease and insects. Forest health was greatly improved for future generations.
Watterson Logging is owned by Rusty Watterson of John Day.

Merit Award winners
The Oregon Board of Forestry also recognized three Oregon companies with 2008 Forest Practices Merit Awards;
  • Plumley Contracting of White City
  • Eberhard Logging of Elgin
  • A-1 Logging of Yamhill
Additional information about Oregon’s forest practice standards are available on the Oregon Department of Forestry’s web site: www.oregon.gov/ODF