Results for Think Out Loud (Other Results)
Unlike the Rust Belt or the Corn Belt, the population of Oregon's Timber Belt is actually stable.
The financial distress of former logging counties is a familiar issue for many Oregonians — one which we've covered many times before. But with Josephine and Curry counties once more rejecting public safety levies, the conversation in Salem has taken on an even more urgent tone. Since the levies were voted down last month, Governor Kitzhaber has floated the possibility of imposing an income tax on the cash-strapped counties, and even mobilizing the National Guard as a last resort. Legislators are talking with commissioners and sheriffs from Josephine and Curry counties and are hoping to work out a plan by the end of the legislative session.
When they entered their third Major League Soccer season, the Portland Timbers sought a better result than 2012. Last year was bitterly disappointing, as the Timbers finished 8-16-10 and and fired coach John Spencer midway through the season. This year has been nothing short of a rejuvenation. Heading into All-Star game tonight, the Timbers are 8-3-10, looking for their first ever playoff berth. Outside of regular MLS play, the Timbers play perennial powerhouse Real Salt Lake in the U.S. Open Cup Semifinal next Wednesday, their best ever showing in the tournament. Portland has never had to worry about fairweather fans. The Timbers have sold out every game since their MLS debut in 2011 and boast the infamous Timbers Army, a section of die hard fans that cheer, drum and taunt during every minute of the game. With so much success two-thirds of a way through the season, they're only getting louder.
Today, Senator Ron Wyden released his long-awaited plan for Oregon's O&C counties.
For most of the last century, U.S. counties with federal timber land (read: much of Oregon) got a share of the proceeds of sales. Originally used to fund schools and roads, these payments now go to a wide range of other county services — everything from libraries to mental health clinics, bridges to jails. The money allowed timber-full counties to keep their taxes low (and they didn't have very large tax bases to begin with). But when logging on federal lands plunged in the 1990s — remember the spotted owl? — the revenue dropped, too. Congress fixed it for a while, making up the difference from other funds. But that fix expired, and a stop-gap one year extension is now due to go away this June.
Results for OPB
On Thursday the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee passed a new version of Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden’s bill to boost logging on public forests.
The BLM says an experimental timber harvest in Southern Oregon balances healthy forests and a healthy timber economy. But conservation groups say environmental protections aren’t strong enough — and they’re opposing legislation that would bring more logging like this to the region.