The long, slow trek toward a pragmatic solution to the puzzle of O&C timberland management took another step this week with Sen. Ron Wyden’s introduction of possible legislation.
Wyden’s broad goals are the same as those of Rep. Peter DeFazio, but even without knowing the details, one can sense the differences.
Both propose two classes of forest management: one for production and the other for preservation. Both propose getting a handle on the endless appeals that have virtually stopped timber harvests on federal lands. Both recognize the need to address the economic hardships that the deadlock has posed for rural Oregon.
But on key topics – land ownership, harvest strategies and environmental reviews – there are differences.
As a result, Wyden says neither the Senate nor the president will approve DeFazio’s proposal, already approved by the House as part of broader legislation. Wyden also recognizes that timber harvest revenues would have to be supplemented with continued federal payments.
So now all the interested parties are busy comparing the details.
Don’t lose hope in the midst of the resulting arguments, because the goals remain the same: Protecting both key forest lands and rural Oregon’s economy.