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Wyden Timber Plan Aims To Bolster Hard-Hit Logging Towns

Northwest News Network | Nov. 26, 2013 3:10 p.m.

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Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber introduces U.S. Senator Ron Wyden during a press conference at the Oregon capitol Tuesday.

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber introduces U.S. Senator Ron Wyden during a press conference at the Oregon capitol Tuesday.

Northwest News Network, Chris Lehman

Oregon U.S. Senator Ron Wyden says his latest proposal to increase logging on Oregon forest land will also respect environmental concerns. The Democrat unveiled his proposal alongside Oregon governor John Kitzhaber at the state capitol in Salem Tuesday.

Wyden’s plan would more than double the timber harvest in 18 western Oregon counties. The land was originally granted to the old Oregon & California railroad. Wyden says it would streamline the environmental review process required to begin cutting wood.

“We want some relief for these rural communities that are walking on an economic tightrope every single day,” Wyden told a crowded press conference. “They have been hit by a wrecking ball over the last decade, decade and a half.”

Wyden says his plan would conserve old growth forest. But several conservation groups criticized the proposal as a shortcut around environmental regulations. And a group made up of some timber county commissioners said the plan wouldn’t create enough logging jobs in hard-hit communities.

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