A coastal case against Measure 34

By Andrew Kaza of Manzanita, Oregon. Andrew Kaza is a homeowner and resident in Manzanita, near the Tillamook & Clatsop county lines, and ran for US Congress as a progressive challenger to Congresswoman Darlene Hooley in the May 2004 Democratic primary.

Progressives flocking to support Measure 34, the so-called "50-50" plan to save the Tillamook Forest, should have another look.

While well intentioned, Measure 34 is highly flawed. Its passage would gut funding for local schools and government in some of Oregon's most impoverished communities.

No, not Seaside, Cannon Beach or Manzanita where I live. But rural burgs like Cloverdale, Hebo and Garibaldi will be hardest hit. Maybe that’s why measure 34 is one of the first issues I’ve seen in years that has united Democrats and Republicans across Clatsop and Tillamook Counties. County commissioners, state legislators and candidates alike are lining up in clear opposition

Yes, 34 will save the forest...but at what price? It imposes a "solution by ballot box" that is a violation of a decades-old agreement by which the counties (Tillamook and Clatsop) originally deeded these lands to the state as a "public trust." Before tearing up that contract, supporters should think long and hard about the havoc that may be wrought.

I confess to being an original fan of the plan to "save the Tillamook rain forest". But that was before I knew all the facts.

The additional "facts" are plain: the 50/50 plan does not dedicate funding to the local schools in Clatsop and Tillamook Counties (it doesn't even define the word "local"). What it will do is increase funding to the Oregon Common School Fund...and the "estimate of financial impact" in the Voters Pamphlet makes it clear that local governments can expect a decrease of $17-19 million a year!

Maybe that's why, with the exception of a small band of sport fishermen, Measure 34 is almost universally reviled in Clatsop and Tillamook counties (and probably most other rural Oregon counties). Despite my constant pleas to the backers of the measure from over a year ago, serious attempts to win support here on the coast have been sorely lacking (likewise, with organized labor, as one of your other posters pointed out).

Environmentalists have reason to be concerned. But instead of passing 34, the Green community should press the Governor for a full-scale replacement of the state Forestry Board. Its seeming neglect of current sensitivities and possible abuses of the current forest management plan are serious issues.

But the current management plan is one of those rare documents that was five years in the making, included nearly every important stakeholder and ultimately pleased nobody (typically a sign of good, reasonable legislation). It should be given some time to work.

However, time is the most precious commodity that will be lost to the rural counties most affected by 34. If it passes, timber sales will be frozen, the legality of the measure no doubt tied up in knots in the legal system for years; meanwhile, county budgets will be gutted. No amount of increase in tourism or sport fishing in the next several years can begin to make up this shortfall.

Until backers have come up with a reasonable plan to replace these revenues, with buy-in from the entire state, it is not prudent to scrap the current management of these forests. Whether one agrees with the legacy or not, one has to respect its impact. For many years now, Tillamook and Clatsop counties have depended on the forests for jobs and tax revenues.

To go "cold turkey" now would have devastating effects.

It’s plain that passage of measure 34 turns the rural and urban divide into an absolute chasm. It's time for metro-area progressives to listen to their rural brethren and foster solutions that are less divisive.

The Tillamook and Clatsop state forests are ancient forest systems (with next to no "old growth") and have survived thousands of years. They can survive the failure of Measure 34. But coastal communities and fellow progressives in them may not survive its passage.

Comments

  • Brian Wagner (unverified)
    (Show?)

    hear, hear Andrew. You have expressed the problems with 34 very well. I see it as yet another battle in the constant struggle any industry deals with in balancing production with conservation. 34, with its shutdown of much of the forest, is too firmly on the side of conservation, leaving little room for compromise. Honestly, I think this is an issue that should be dealt with outside of the ballot box (or the envelope mailed to your home). If the real problem is the Board, the people behind 34 should be focusing their energy on changing its composition.

    34 has a noble goal, but I fear it does too little to take into consideration the effects its excessively green approach will have on non-urban Oregon (and of course we can expect most of the votes to come from the large cities, those who don't live off of the forests).

  • Calvin Carson (unverified)
    (Show?)

    THE KEEPERS OF OUR MORALS But everything is legal. I would think that selectively deciding the legal status and taxation of a drug based solely on that drug’s ability to end our lives later rather than sooner for the purpose of raising money by our government to be obscene, callous and hypocritical.

    [SNIP. Sorry, this is so wildly off-topic that I figure it's basically comment-spam. I've snipping it off here. -Ed.]

  • Jonathan (unverified)
    (Show?)

    This is the biggest, mindless, stream of thought post I've ever seen. No big surprise that the last line is about legalizing drugs ... somebody's already been partking pretty heavily.

  • Mari Anne Gest (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Andrew Kaza's statements sound like he also is smoking something. I am shocked that he has bought our opponents rhetoric -soundbite by soundbite. Sounds like he hasn't even read the ballot measure and knows little about the issue. I encourage him to visit www.tillamook5050.org so he better understands this important issue! Vote Yes on 34. Even Moveon.org has endorsed our efforts.

  • (Show?)

    Given the detail of his post, I highly doubt that he hasn't read the text of the measure.

  • (Show?)

    This is the biggest, mindless, stream of thought post I've ever seen.

    I dug it. You see, if I don't keep myself in check (and, admittedly, sometimes even when I do), I can be long-winded and ramble on and on. But it's posts like these that make me look really brief and succinct. hehehe.

  • lyndon Ruhnke (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I wish progressive thinking Oregonians would stop buying the timber industries lies and ask a few questions from the Yes on 34 campaign before they mislead voters. Andrew, you did get it wrong. 1. Measure 34 does protect local schools; in fact it locks them in at the highest funding levels in recent memory, maybe ever. What the hell do you mean the measure doesn’t even define local? Where did you hear that nugget? Just reading the measure wasn’t on your things to do list? Section 4 (b) if you received revenue from timber harvests from these forests you are a local public school, please, please, please, read the measure 2. There is no contract or trust agreement between the State and Oregon counties regarding the management of our state forests. Check out Tillamook County v. State of Oregon (the Crabtree case) or maybe the Souder and Rice Report that the ODF paid for will clear this point up. 3. Measure 34 does not take away 17 to 19 million from local governments. It turns out that is what the counties reported to the state at the request of the Association of Oregon Counties (make Measure 34 look as bad as possible), however if you read the measure the alleged complete elimination of funding just isn't in there, but the fact that the counties would have to agree to any changes of the timber revenue distribution formula is.. How likely do you think that will be? 4. It is true that the counties have relied on timber revenue for a long time and Measure 34 will continue to provide as much revenue as the average from the last 6 years... how did they get along before the bonanza.. Well the bonanza is just beginning and at a cost of fish & wildlife habitat, clean drinking water and recreational opportunity, Perhaps that property tax cut that Tillamook County gave right after receiving a dramatic increase in timber revenue has had the desired effect. What did the counties do before the ODF plan promised more than could or should be delivered; these are state forests NOT county forests 5. Nobody, except big timbers attorneys, has said that timber harvests will be frozen by measure 34. Predictions of endless litigation ignore the fact that the BOF administrative rules set out quite clearly that the counties don't have a right to revenue from every acre out there and neither do any court rulings; again these are state forests NOT county forests although the counties to have a protected legal right to receive some revenue from these forests arising from statute. The worries about endless litigation are a red herring, because this is a statutory measure and not a constitutional measure, so if there are minor problems the legislature can fix them. 6. While it is true that the current management plan was a long time coming it is no wonder so many feel that it was just a dog and pony show. The comments against having timber harvests as the number one use of our state forests were a ratio of 10 to 1 against, but the BOF went the other way. Independent scientists were against the plan 11 to 1. All said that it was not protective enough of drinking water and streams/salmon needed reserves to work, but there are no reserve areas. Perhaps letting this timber centered plan work isn't the right thing to do. 7. Andrew.. you got one thing right, the BOF needs a radical overhaul, but the Governor appointed 3 members recently and each one of them has their toast buttered by timber, so, well, you get what industry wants, just like the current plan. 8. Measure 34 had wide and deep support in Tillamook and Clatsop Counties before timber companies started the misinformation campaign, but, yes, 2.3 million in deceptive advertising can change some minds. I’m surprised that you didn’t quote the numbers from the Oregon Forest Industries Council… oops, I mean the no on 34 folks. A note for Brian, the big cities in Oregon are where the timber jobs are, so don’t look for a major jump in employment in Tillamook and Clatsop Counties from the increased cutting. Those jobs are along the I-5 corridor.

    Read the measure and don’t believe the hype.

  • Jerry (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Calvin.... Man, you shouldn't smoke what you're trying to sell.

  • Marcia Denison (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Sounds to me like Mr. Kaza's just another lying politician practicing up to out do the Tim Josi's of the world or any other local good old boy who'd spar for biggest whopper teller of the day. Folks like that don't want citizens to have laws to protect their public interests 'cause their's too much to be made under the table without adequite laws. Last thing they want to hear from their timber constituants is "I'm sorry Mr. Kaza, I can't bribe you any more because the people can sue me now with these new laws". Having laws to back up what laws are already in place could seriously hinder a long history of corruption between coastal politicians and the timber industry or ODF, too, for that matter.

  • Andrew Kaza (unverified)
    (Show?)

    The author responds: Let's start with some disclosures. MaryAnn and Lyndon both work for the group that WROTE Measure 34 and are its principal backers. I have NO agenda - other than that of private citizen. I am not running for any office at this time (unlikely to do so again) and received absolutely ZERO timber dollars in my last campaign. My own children don't attend the local schools either. I ran the most progressive campaign of any major party candidate in the spring, with a very specific commitment to old growth ("we've cut 99%; let's leave the remaining 1% alone...permanently"). I just happen to believe that this measure, as written, would be terribly damaging to the local economies, schools etc. I do wish fellow progressives could receive such arguments on their merits, rather than resort to cheap and baseless accusations like "he's smoking something too" or "buying the timber industry's lies" or (and I loved this one)"he's just another lying politician".

    Lyndon's response at least tried to deal with my arguments, so let me fire back, specifically, to his points.

    1. M34 certainly attempts to address the school funding issue, but it cannot guarantee the outcome suggested. Where is the legislature supposed to find this lost revenue? Will local services (fire, police, the rest of county govt.) be forced to sacrifice everything else to meet it? And I still maintain that despite the use of the word "local" I cannot find a definition for the term in the wording. Maybe you can point it out to me, Lyndon...

    2. I'll confess I am not familiar with the Crabtree case, but I do know some pretty salient history. The counties inherited these forests from mostly bankrupt, private landowners in the 1940s, following the Tillamook Burn. They were deeded back to the state to be run as state forests, with the written understanding that a pct. of income from the harvest would be directed back to the counties. Legalized bribery? Perhaps. Bad precedent? Maybe to absolutely. But again, the backers of this measure are seen as violators of a deal between the counties and state...not a great way to get backing in coastal communities.

    3. If this figure is wrong, then how much money WILL the measure take away, Lyndon? It's certainly not zero dollars.

    4. Bonanza? I don't know about that. I haven't lived here for decades like some local residents, but our family has owned property in the county since the '60s and I have never seen a property tax decrease...not even after measure 5. And this county is poor - several of its small cities make the state's exclusive impoverished list. I notice no empathy for its residents in any of these responses.

    5. Anybody who assumes litigation won't be tying up the effects of this legislation hasn't paid attention to the timber fights of the last 20 yrs. Is the Biscuit timber sale a constitutional issue? In fact, in local editorials, I have seen this argument raised. I am not alone - nor I am a timber industry hack.

    6. Is the current plan one-sided to the interests of harvesters? Perhaps (it's not "50/50" after all), but the real problem is still the lack of oversight (see next pt.) - not this plan. Environmentalists have a right to be outraged over the cutting above & beyond what the forest mgmt. plan agreed. It has to stop.

    7. Glad you agree. Let's put pressure on Gov. K, where it belongs. He made a well-documented deal to pack the board, in return for a free pass on the state board of higher ed. Bad all around.

    8. The polls don't support this. I mean the election polls, in particular. This was THE defining local issue of the May primary. One documented supporter of the 50/50 plan, an excellent candidate for Till. Co. commissioner, Lisa Phipps, lost a close race, pretty much entirely due to this issue. Both county commissions have endorsed resolutions against this measure, even tho there are 4 Democrats out of 8. State Sen. Joan Dukes and State Rep. Debbie Boone are both Ds, and both have come out strongly against M34. A number of local school boards have passed resolutions against M34. All buying "timber industry lies"? I doubt it. Local newspapers have split (Tillamook H-H strongly opposed; the Daily Astorian, one of the state's most liberal papers and close representing fishing interests, gave a cautious endorsement). I will bet any amt. of money the measure is defeated by a wide margin in both counties.

    In closing, I have read the measure, even gathered signatures for it at one point in the past. I am not afraid to say when I believe I was duped. I find more hype on this from the pro-34 crowd, and I am disappointed. I felt obligated to speak out to fellow progressives who might be as torn as I am about the whole issue. Regrettably and reluctantly, I will vote NO on 34 when I cast my ballot this week.

  • Mari Anne Gest (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Andrew. I'm holding up two cards. One is a picture of a tree farm and one is a picute of a forest managed to balance the protection of drinking water, fish and wildlife habitat, and recreation with timber production.

    Oregon law requires these forests to be managed for the "Greatest Permanent Value" of the Citizens of Oregon. Which card would you choose? Though I work for the campaign, I do not monetarily gain from passing Measure 34. I am in this fight because I am a native Oregonian that loves this state and I believe that our economic recovery is dependent on our natural resources. Not the extraction of them, but rather the preservation of them.

    The most valuable product that will come out of these forests in the future is Clean drinking water, not cut timber!

    But, in an effort to balance the values of our forests we included resource extraction along with environmental protection. We can have both.

    As to the dollars for counties. Here are the facts. Measure 34 will provide more revenue to the staet and counties than the average provided over the last 10 years. From 1994 to 2003 the average harvest level from these forests was 116 million board feet. Under Measure 34 it will average up to 145 million board feet according to the state fiscal impact committee. Our opponents are saying the "sky is falling" but in reality the counties, schools and the state will make more money over the long-term under Measure 34.

    Did you know that Tillamook County only gets 4% of their personal income from the wood products industry? Most of the counties income comes from recreation, tourism and retiree transfer taxes. Short term gain from timber revenue can have a devasting effect on the long term health of their economy.

    A study released in 2000 from Southwick Assoc. found that in Oregon, the relationship between the environment and the economy are changing. "Industries that extract raw materials are stagnating, while industries that benefit from the presence of environmental amenities are growing rapidly." "Tourism and retirement are increasingly important sources of economic growth." According to the Oregon employment Dept. only 3% of the jobs in Oregon are in the wood products industry.

    Our economic is being driven by retail sales, sportsfishing, recreation etc. For the sake of growing our economy we have to rethink our strategies. Measure 34 starts us down that new path in a balanced way that supports the wood products industry while protecting our natural resources that are important to the long term health of our state.

  • pat hayes (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Hi Folks...

    Thanks ed. for trimming the THE KEEPER OF OUR MORALS..I was getting confused after the first couple of sentences.

    Andrew....thank you for your well researched and insightful post. Decisions about the exploitation of natural resources in rural areas are made in the corporate high-rises and the shabby chic of the Dekum Building by equally ignorant and indifferent corporate and environmental decision-makers. The stakeholders who live and work here get precious little to say. It's colonialism no matter who does it.

    Mari Anne...many of us otherwise progressive folks will vote with the state and timber companies on this one for the simple reason that we have no practical reason to vote for the measure. Few of us would disagree with the goals and objectives of better water quality, fisheries, forest management and soils retention. We do not, however, have much faith in the ability of the environmental movement, based as it is in urban America, to accomplish something that benefits us. We have to live and work with our rancher, farmer, logger neighbors every day. We have to thread our way through the USFS, the BLM, etc. For us it is not a us/them situation...we're on school boards, conservation districts, weed boards, alongside thosefolks. It is hard enough for us to push progressive green approaches with the annual invasion of tree sitters, blockades, and over-run campgrounds.

    If you're serious about changing the way we manage natural resources then stop treating rural areas as colonies and rural residents as ignorant peasants.

    Thanks for the opportunity to comment

  • Sally (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Go Andrew - I posted an anti-measure 34 comment here a week ago and was also accused of being less than smart.

    Andrew take it from another average citizen who has done her homework - you do know the facts and you are right on target.

  • Marcia Denison (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I was just wondering why a person wanting to "save the old-growth" would run against Darleen Hooley who has done so much to save the old-growth herself. How did you get to run for Hooley's office without being a resident of that district? Manzanita is a very long way from there. That's not legal. It's nice that you feel so passionatley about 3 coastal fishing villages having enough logging in their watersheds. The fact of the matter is harbors for fishing boats are all but inaccessable to boats from all the sediment of overlogging filling the bays. Scraping bottom can damage fishing boats and maroon them. The best thing for Garibaldi would have been to limit logging before their slopes failed filling the bays with mud and saving enough forest to log now and in the future. If there were adequite riparian reserves they would have more fish to catch. It is very thoughtful to worry about the educations of these fishermen's children, but not enough logging has never been a problem there. The mountains around Nestucca Bay and Hebo are also nearly completely stripped already. The last thing small rural communities need is sudden booms and lengthy poverty. These logging fits and spurts take log overflow to other mills far away, taking local jobs and economic stability away, too. Care about our futures if you want something to care about.

  • dave brown (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Andrew also forgets to mention that he is a former republican, who spends most of his time overseas, getting rich off Comcast Cable. Oh and one of the reasons he ran against Hooley was that she was too pro-choice. Andrew is nothing more than an opportunist wearing the progressive colors because they are in style.

  • Marcia Denison (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Mr. Kaza has engaged a side conversation correcting me on the redistricting that put Manzanita in her district. I apologize for that.
    As for school funding for the smallest schools, they get the lion's share due to very small classes. Jewel highschool senior class when I lived there in '94, went to Paris France for graduation. It didn't come from rich timber worker parents or from the annual hambuger feed. Their excess funding is spent somehow so it won't show up on the books. Larger schools in Clatsop cvounty are very well funded also but have more students. Measure 34 is "very well written" says Governor Barbarta Roberts in the voter's pamphlet. It is purhaps the most fair proposed law that Oregon has seen, incliding everyone equally, including future generations as any excellent state law should.

  • tough choice (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I struggled a bit with 34 but ultimately voted against. Roberts does say yes but current governor says no.

    my final reasoning was pretty simple: at this point in time, with the state and many counties in fiscal crisis, I just can't endorse a plan that ends what seems to me to have been a longstanding agreement between Tillamook County and the state to manage these lands with an eye to: timber jobs and timber income, local tax revenue, and environmental impact.

    it seems to me that we already have a system in place to manage these lands. We already have a legislative and bureaucratic system in place.

  • Jeremy Rogers (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I'm sorry to hear that you have already voted against Measure 34. Your reasoning would be good, if your assumptions were true.

    Unforunately, the bereaucratic system in place is dominated by one interest--logging. The board of forestry is stacked with timber interests and even the ODF gets its revenue from chopping down the forest. M34 does nothing to violate the existing relationship between the counties. The revenue distribution formula remains unchanged--unless the counties agree to a change, and M34 maintains current local school funding levels.

    I would encourage you to read the measure @ www.tillamoook5050.org and then encourage your friends to make sure they get all the info.

    Jeremy

  • David Moskowitz (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Fish mongers and rumor mongers and Measure 34

    My name is David Moskowitz. I am the Treasurer of Oregonians for a Balanced Tillamook Political Action Committee. I have been working on state forest issues on Oregon's North Coast for 14 years. The posts on this site have been interesting, but many of the major arguments being made by opponents are based on incorrect assumptions. I try to address some of these below.

    What is Measure 34? Measure 34 will create a roadmap for a plan that incorporates credible scientific information to protect half of the 518,000 acres of public forestland in the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forest. Measure 34 seeks to balance sustainable logging with permanent protection for fish and wildlife populations, to protect clean water that one in ten Oregonians drink, and enhance all recreational opportunities on state forest land on Oregon’s North Coast. This process will include extensive public participation.

    Is 50 percent enough? When you add up the areas important for wild salmon, wildlife and clean water, they could require as much as sixty-five percent of the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests. We are seeking a better balance between permanent reserves and sustainable timber harvesting.

    Why do we need this Measure? This plan represents the ongoing work by conservation, business and recreation organizations over nearly a decade. It came to a ballot measure because the Oregon Department of Forestry ignored the recommendations of 2 independent scientific panels as well as over 3,000 public comments when it adopted its management plan in January 2001. One commenter said since the plan pleased no one it must be good. Interesting logic. Measure 34 is also necessary because the Oregon Board of Forestry is comprised of citizen members who have more direct economic conflicts than is allowed by Oregon law. The composition of the board has contributed to the effort to take these issues directly to the voters. The Oregonian said Measure 34 is ballot box forestry that Oregon does not need. Remember that Oregon voted to pay for the replanting the Tillamook in a 1948 ballot initiative. Why is a ballot initiative any less appropriate to again protect the Tillamook in 2004? One further thought, Measure 34 does not entirely scrap the existing experiemental plan - it proposes to implement that plan, but just not on every acre, and not on the most senstive ecologically productive places on the North Coast.

    Food for thought: Responding to other issues:

    The Revenue Distribution Issue: The historic agreement between the counties and the state deserves some mention. First, private timber companies defaulted on their tax bills and the counties foreclosed. After decades of county-supported salvage and green tree logging of the so-called "Tillamook Burn" the counties held up their palms and said "we need help managing this wasteland we helped create" once all the trees were gone. Oregon stepped in to replant and restore this region. Tillamook and Clatsop Counties were two of the three Oregon counties where the 1948 replanting bond measure did not pass. Measure 34 does not end nor restructure the existing relationship between the state and the counties. The existing agreemetn does not create a fixed income stream, only a continued one.

    Fear and Loathing by lawyers and litigators:

    Some commenters fear that litigation will tie everything up. The City Club of Portland used a broadly construed and weakly crafted legal opinion by Greg Corbin of Stoel Rives to foment this fear of lawsuits. Please recall that Stoel Rives represents many timber companies. Can you say "unfounded?" Please read the Oregon AG's legal memo to Forestry for a more reasonable intepretation of the threats of a legal traffic jam. Speaking of litigation, when Measure 34 passes, the first lawyers to the courthouse will be from the Standard Insurance Building.

    Bridging the rural - urban divide: Some people on the coast live as far away from the state forest as do people in Washington County do. Furthermore, last we looked, these lands are public lands whose purpose is to provide the greatest perment value for Oregon - all of Oregon. Cutting down trees may not be the path to create the greatest permanent value. Measure 34 will provide Oregon voters an opportunity preserve their options that were orignianlly created by going to the ballot box in 1948.

    Is Fire a concern?

    If you have seen the television ads paid for by out-of-state timber companies, you could imagine that imminent, catastrophic forest fires will destroy the Tillamook unless we let them cut it down. Fire is natural part of the coast range, but occurs only once every 300 to 400 years. Measure 34 would require restoration forestry to help restore healthy forests and watersheds damaged by the last round of salvage logging. Fire is an issue for any forest but fiery television ads are just another example of poor corporate timber practices. Too bad the timber industry burned up so many of its shareholder’s dollars buying those misleading and fear-mongering ads.

    What about schools? Out-of-state and non-union timber companies also claim that Measure 34 will hurt schools. In fact, Measure 34 preserves funding for local public school districts who receive revenue from harvests. Measure 34 also guarantees five percent of timber receipts to the Common School Fund, new money that is not there now. This funding comes from re-allocating revenue that funded fancy new buildings for the Department of Forestry in Salem and Tillamook. If anything will hurt schools, it will be the boom and bust logging cycles promoted by out-of-state timber companies as well as the failure of local and state officials to see the forest but for the trees.

    Jobs and the economy Timber companies (did I mention that many of them are out of state corporations?) continue to blame regulations for the job shrinkage in the wood products industry. The real culprit is automation – both in the woods and in the mill. By logging the bigger trees at an unsustainable rate, two things happened. First, watersheds lost their capacity to produce wild salmon, wildlife, and clean drinking water. All seven major rivers flowing from the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forest do not meet water quality standards. In fact, on Friday, the federal Environmental Protection Agency and Oregon's own Department of Environmental Quality told the Board of Forestry that their rules on small streams do not protect water quality for fish.

    The second result of unsustainable logging on northwest forests is that Wall Street and their accountants took over for the foresters. They learned that trees grow fastest in their early years and they learned that you could make more money if you harvest them more often. Now that the big trees are gone, one guy can drive to a forest, get into a machine that grabs, cuts and loads small logs directly onto a logging truck, and then get into the logging truck and drive it to a mill that operates 24 hours a day with half the workers needed to run it than were needed just a decade ago.

    Top forest economists estimate that harvesting 1 million board foot (mbf) of lumber creates 12.7 direct jobs in the wood, paper and pulp industry. Let’s see if this estimation survives scrutiny. In 1995, 80 mbf were harvested from the Tillamook. Harvest doubled by 2000 to 160 mbf. This 80 mbf increase over 5 years should have created 1,016 jobs statewide. The Oregon Employment Department found during that 5-year period, 12 jobs were created in Tillamook County and 4 in Clatsop County. There is no way that the harvest of 80 mbf over 5 years created 1,016 jobs statewide. Our opposition uses the slogan “It doesn’t add up.” Perhaps they are talking about their own claims that over 2,000 jobs will be lost. Timber workers have more to fear about their employment future from mechanization and corporate cost-cutters than from Measure 34.

    The Board of Forestry as muse:

    This healing forest is managed by the Oregon Board of Forestry. Their 2001 management plan based on “structure based management” is innovative but untested. As I mentioned earlier, the Board of Forestry ignored the critical opinion of two different independent scientific panels as well as over 3,000 citizens who wanted a better balance between permanent reserves and sustainable logging.

    The Board’s blindness to other opinions should not be surprising. Even though Governor Kulongoski has staked the future of protecting state lands on this Board, it is unlikely that it can rise to the occasion because nearly every member has a direct or indirect economic conflict of interest in the industry that it regulates. State law allows no more than 3 members of the Board to have an economic conflict. Five of the current seven members have a direct conflict, and there exists the possibility that the remaining two members also have impermissible conflicts. In that atmosphere, it is no wonder that the State Forester has been accused of cutting backroom deals with the industry. Measure 34 does not directly address the current conflicts, nor update this antiquated conflicts law that compares with the Hardrock Mining Law of 1872, or western water law in its deference to the consumptive user. However, the status of the Board appointments and the Governor's refusal to correct the problem in early 2004 gives the public every reason to invoke the ballot measure to restore the public interest in these public lands.

    Given a track record that includes ignoring both the weight of scientific evidence and overwhelming public opinion during the planning process, extensive conflicts of interest and backroom deals, Oregonians have every right to go to the ballot box to protect the forest that they planted.

    Restore balance. Vote Yes on Measure 34.

  • andrew (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Measure 34 does not directly address the current conflicts, nor update this antiquated conflicts law that compares with the Hardrock Mining Law of 1872, or western water law in its deference to the consumptive user.

    <h2>David, this is pretty much the point of my earlier commentary...activists should have directed their ire towards the Governor and legislature about the composition & direction of the Forestry Board, rather than resorting to the ballot box. Note that in 1948, it was the Legislature who referred the reforestation issue to the voters. We are abandoning the practice of good government when we give our politicians a free pass on their questionable decisions. A campaign to inform the public and put pressure on the Guv (and others) would be far more beneficial longer-term. After all, it is these leaders who will still have to implement M34 (assuming it passes). Good luck to all of the supporters of M34...I count many of you as friends and believe in your cause, just not this particular solution. I hope to be a "comrade-in-arms" with you again on the next battle.</h2>
guest column

connect with blueoregon