After years of long and often rancorous debate, it seems that Oregon’s eastside “timber wars” may be over. That was the news this week from Senator Ron Wyden, who introduced a bill (pdf) based on a historic agreement between logging and environmental voices. Under the bill, logging in 8.3 million acres in six national forests east of the Cascades would increase in return for beefed up protections of large trees and waterways. Loggers and mill owners are applauding the potential for new or saved jobs; environmentalists are celebrating watershed and habitat safeguards.
Regular listeners of Think Out Loud — who might have heard us talking over the last two years about thinning, or old growth, or how you assess the value of a forest, among many other shows — might be surprised to hear that groups as divergent as Oregon Wild and the American Forest Resource Council could find themselves on the same side of a sweeping bill. The question is: now what?
If you’ve been frustrated that too much — or not enough — logging was being allowed in national forests, what do you make of this new announcement? Are you satisfied that you’ve gotten as much as you’ve given up? What would this agreement mean for Eastern Oregon? And are there any lessons — or accrued goodwill — that could be applied to the even more intractable disagreements on the other side of the mountains?
- Josh Kardon: Chief of staff to Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR)
- John Shelk: Managing director of Ochoco Lumber Company
- Andy Kerr: Lobbyist for various conservation organizations, “czar” of The Larch Company, senior counselor and former executive director of Oregon Wild
- Ivan Maluski: Conservation program coordinator for the Oregon chapter of the Sierra Club