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Kitzhaber: Let's not become Asia's 'timber colony'


During his talk with the Oregon Board of Forestry today, Gov. John Kitzhaber said he’s worried about the increase raw logs on private land being exported to Asia:

“To me this amounts to no more than exporting our natural capital and exporting our jobs, and we’re at risk, I think, of becoming a timber colony for Asia while undermining our mill infrastructure and their surrounding communities – and at the same time increasing pressure for harvest on state lands.”

As more and more timber from private land is being shipped overseas, local mills are competing with Asian buyers for logs to cut. Public timber can’t be exported, so part of the timber industry is looking for public timber to help them out of the deep hole left after the collapse of the U.S. housing market.

Kitzhaber said his administration will be working on ways to turn more Oregon logs into wood products that can be manufactured here.

He proposed a partnership among the Oregon State University Wood Innovation Center, the University of Oregon’s School of Architecture and the Oregon Sustainability Center that would focus on boosting the domestic wood products industry. He also suggested wood biomass as another solution to maintaining local jobs.

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