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Forestry Board nears selection of new state forester, plans public forum
Contacts:
Dan Postrel, Oregon Department of Forestry, 503-945-7420
Twyla Lawson, Senior Recruitment Consultant, Oregon Department of Administrative Services, 503-373-7677
 
Oregonians will have an opportunity to meet with finalists on Jan. 25 as the Oregon Board of Forestry prepares to select a new state forester.

The board will conduct interviews and announce two to three finalists on Jan. 10. A final round of interviews, and the selection of a state forester, are scheduled for Jan. 26.

The new forester will replace Marvin Brown, who served in the position from 2003 until his resignation in December 2010. Nancy Hirsch, chief of the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) State Forests Division, is serving as acting state forester.

The state forester carries out the board’s overarching policies and serves as director of ODF.
 
The recruitment drew 15 applicants, 12 of whom met the qualifications for the position. The board has narrowed the field to six candidates, who will be interviewed in an executive session beginning at 7:45 a.m. Jan. 10 at ODF headquarters, at 2600 State St., in Salem.

State law permits executive sessions, which are closed to the public, for limited purposes, including considering the employment of a chief executive officer. A final decision must be made in a meeting that is open to the public.

Board Chair John Blackwell said the board plans to name two to three finalists following the Jan. 10 meeting. Those finalists will meet with ODF employees and with the public on Jan. 25.

 They will also have an opportunity to meet with Governor-elect John Kitzhaber before the board’s final selection.

The public forum is scheduled to begin at 12:45 p.m. in the Tillamook Room at ODF headquarters. Members of the public will have an opportunity to submit questions to moderator Twyla Lawson, a recruitment expert with the Oregon Department of Administrative Services, who is coordinating the recruitment effort. Questions also can be emailed in advance to Twyla.Lawson@state.or.us

At the end of the forum, attendees will be provided a link to an electronic survey that they can use until 9 p.m. to submit feedback, which will be compiled and submitted to the board.

Board discussion and follow-up interviews with the finalists are scheduled for an 8 a.m. executive session at ODF headquarters on Jan. 26. The board will then enter an open session, which will include a public comment period, to make its appointment decision.

The board’s goal is to have the new state forester on the job in early February.
 
“Forests are an enormously valuable resource in this state,” Blackwell said. But forests face major challenges, Blackwell noted, including securing adequate public funds for the department’s work in fire protection and enforcement of environmental laws.
 
“We’re seeking a state forester with strong leadership and communication skills, and the ability to connect with the public and a wide range of interest groups,” he said. “This person will be a vital advocate for the protection and sustainable management of our forests.”

ODF provides services including preventing and fighting wildfires on 15.8 million acres, most of them privately owned; managing state-owned forests; enforcing natural resource protection laws on private forestlands; advising landowners on sustainable forest management; and providing urban forestry assistance. The department has a $303 million two-year budget and about 650 employees.
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The Board of Forestry consists of seven citizen members nominated by the Governor and confirmed by the state Senate. For more information about the board and department, visit www.oregon.gov/odf.