By Bob Ferris
As a wildlife biologist who has spent most of his professional career working with critters, I have to admit that I am fairly new to forestry issues. Moreover, the O&C issue is a particularly gnarly one.
But I can read graphs and have spent a long time interpreting and analyzing data. So when I look at the above graph two questions pop into my mind that I feel all of us should be posing to the legislators intent on ramping up timber sales and once again sacrificing long-term biological sustainability:
1) Does this look like the economic EKG of an industry capable of turning the state’s economy around?
2) Did we learn nothing from the last time we felt this industry was the future of Oregon?
I am sure that the excuses are about to bubble out of the ground like the recently erupting geyser in Yellowstone, but just stop. What about entertaining solutions that are and will be part of our future rather than those that require us to put so much of what we hold dear at risk, like our clean water, recreational opportunities and fish and wildlife habitat? How about we look at sectors that are growing, healthy and would materially benefit from educated youth and quality of life for these needed revenues?
Oregon's economy grew by 3.9% (measured by GDP) last year and it obviously did so without the help of the timber industry. Let's look at growing sectors like manufacturing, leisure and hospitality, and construction as sources for a solution rather than this tired old horse.