Officials from three Southern Oregon counties are banding together to urge the federal government to increase regional logging.
Commissioners from Douglas, Josephine and Jackson Counties tell the Roseburg News Review that this summer’s wildfires in Southern Oregon lend new urgency to their cause.
They say the wildfires have destroyed millions of board feet of timber that could have been providing jobs in the region.
Western Oregon timber counties historically relied on Oregon & California Railroad trust lands for jobs and county revenue.
But logging on the O&C lands has declined by about 84 percent since 1990, when the northern spotted owl was listed as a threatened species.
Under a plan proposed by Oregon Representatives Peter DeFazio, Greg Walden and Kurt Schrader, about half of that landwould be managed not by the BLM, but by a state panel.
But that proposal has drawn loud criticism from conservation groups.