BEND, OR -- Oregon Governor Kate Brown believes there is a way to grow the timber industry and protect the environment. She shared her thoughts during the keynote speech at the Western Governor's Association Forest and Rangeland Workshop Monday, at the Riverhouse in Bend.
She highlighted John Day-based Iron Triangle Timber as an example: "Because of the sustainable supply of wood on the Malheur National Forest, Iron Triangle is now in the process of reopening and upgrading a post and pole mill in Seneca, Oregon that's been sitting idle for years." In 2013, the Forest Service awarded a 10-year, $68 million contract to Iron Triangle, allowing them to accelerate restoration work over the next decade. "Thanks to this particular partnership, we've seen a 14% increase in timber harvest and a 16% increase in timber-related jobs as a result of partnerships like these," said Brown. "I believe we have to continue to search for similar innovative programs that are both good for the economy and for the environment."
Gov. Brown also talked about new industries helping rural economies in the state. She told the crowd, "Unmanned aerial vehicles and cross-laminated timber aren’t just the hot tech trends of the moment. I see these as brilliant innovations that can’t grow without space or trees." Brown says, "We're certainly working hard to invest in technologies that inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs."
She points out there are also opportunities to protect forest and rangelands, "Drought and wildfire threaten family incomes and our local economies." The workshop continues Tuesday with a discussion on how to support and diversify rural economies. Bend Mayor Pro Tem Sally Russell will participate in that panel.