Photo by Ellen Miller

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Northwest Oregon County Doesn’t Want Timber Receipts

Clatsop County recalled four of their five Commissioners through a recall effort due to their support of an LNG facility on the Columbia.  The new commissioners have fired the entire County Planning Department.

At a meeting discussing the Implimentation Plan for the Clatsop State Forest, commissioners discussed trying to unlink the connection between timber harvests and receipts returned to the County.

Below is a letter from Christine Bridgens to the Editor of the Cannon Beach Gazette  objecting to the Commissions’ actions.

Posted: Monday, May 23, 2011 2:22 pm | Updated: 2:26 pm, Mon May 23, 2011.

Even after hearing testimony from over 50 people in the logging/forestry industry, Commissioners Huhtala, Birkby, Lee and Chair Rohne chose not to support implementation of the Department of Forestry's Management plan, which provides for timber harvest, environmental and wildlife protection, and recreational opportunities.

Many are not aware that Commissioners Birkby & Lee (Huhtala came and left) recently attended an April 26 Wild Salmon Center/Sierra Club meeting at which Bob Van Dyk (Wild Salmon Center) began organizing a committee of local folks with a goal to severely limit logging.

Another of their goals will be to "decouple" (their term) the connection between timber and Clatsop County revenue for our schools, fire departments, Clatsop Care Center, Union Health District and many other important county services. Neither Birkby nor Lee admitted, at the Board of Commissioners meeting, to having an ex parte contact, having attended this Wild Salmon Center/Sierra Club meeting.

One of the assignments for the decoupling committee will be to identify forest areas they especially like, and then go to elected government entities, like the Clatsop County Commission, and pressure them to buy into a permanent no-logging plan for these areas. According to Van Dyk, this will be a yearlong campaign entitled, "Not Timber First."

At the May 11th BOCC meeting, I heard some of the same talking points from Comm. Birkby, Lee & Huhtala that I heard at Van Dyk's meeting April 26.

At this April 26 meeting, held at Clatsop College, Bob Van Dyk said he would return in May to continue his organizing. I asked Mr. Van Dyk, at the recent BOCC meeting when his next meeting would be, and he told me that I could not attend because it would be only for those on the committee. I wonder if Commissioners Birkby, Lee or Huhtala will be allowed to attend, and if they will be transparent about their interest and connection to this activist, anti-logging, special-interest group. 

I think most of us know the answer.
Irresponsible, reckless governance is unacceptable!

Christine Bridgens

Ironically, as the Clatsop County Commissioners object to the scientific forest management strategy of the World's most productive softwood forest lands, Oregon's legislature has several bills that would direct the increase in sustained yield timber harvests on State Forests to benefit county services, schools and state coffers.  Unfortunately, as the 2011 session winds down, the prospects for the legislature adopting a measure to increase timber harvests dwindle.

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