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Oregon Timber Prices At Record Lows

The U.S. Forest Service Monday announced that softwood lumber exports from Oregon and Washington reached record highs in 2008.

But that could be because the price of American lumber is at record lows.

Central Oregon correspondent Ethan Lindsey reports.

Official figures are hard to come by, but anecdotally, timber prices in the Northwest are at or near record lows.

Officials say wood is so inexpensive, it's hard to get an accurate measure of the price. No one is actually selling right now.

George Ponte: “The amount of milling infrastructure has declined in the past ten years.”

George Ponte is the Central Oregon district forester for the Oregon Department of Forestry.

George Ponte: “As you get fewer and fewer places to sell your logs,  transportation costs go up and the profit margin of growing and harvesting those trees goes down to a point where it's just not economically viable.”

One faint glimmer of hope for some sawmills?

The $790 billion federal stimulus package includes money that could be spent on new utility poles.