As Aid Dries Up, Some Oregon Counties Glad To Be Off ‘The Federal Dole’

Note:  This article, published Dec. 21st, comes from OPB, Oregon Public Broadcasting.  If the press offers a feather in the wind showing which way the wind is blowing, then it would seem that SRS may have breathed its final breath.


A contractor sorts logs on Oregon Board of Forestry land (Image source:  Oregon Board of Forestry)

For 15 years, Congress wrote more than $3 billion in subsidy checks to Oregon counties that had experienced big drops in federal timber harvests.

That program stopped earlier this year.

But many county officials are actually not so sad the federal help expired.

Timber once drove the Oregon economy. In the 70s, the industry employed as many as 80,000 workers. In many western Oregon timber communities, local government operated largely on their share of the revenue from logging federal lands.

Then came one shock after another that slashed at jobs. A deep recession in the early 80s. More efficient mills. And in 1990, federal authorities listed the northern spotted owl as a threatened species. That led to dramatic reductions of timber harvests on public lands.

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One Response to As Aid Dries Up, Some Oregon Counties Glad To Be Off ‘The Federal Dole’

  1. 2ndLaw says:

    It is very sad when public officials see the world through a rose-colored rear-view mirror and are unable to distinguish the public interest from the timber industry’s interests. #dinosaurs

    Contrary to the views of many county commissioners, the timber industry is a source of instability. Resource extraction is inherently volatile, therefore providing timber from federal lands likely causes community instability rather than community stability as often assumed. BLM’s 2015 Western Oregon Plan Revision said, “Over the long-term (1969-2007), timber-based industries nationally exhibited low or negative growth rates with high volatility compared with the United States economy as a whole, indicating that these industries tend to be inherently volatile. Increases in timber industry activity in the planning area could bring additional exposure to greater economic instability.” BLM’s DEIS acknowledges that the timber industry is far more volatile than other industries so boosting timber jobs does not necessarily translate to community stability

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