Governor appoints panel on timber counties funding

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber has created a panel to try to end a stalemate over federal forest lands that once belonged to a corrupt railroad.

Almost a hundred years ago Congress seized about 2 and a half million acres of forest from the Oregon & California Railroad. Today the O & C lands are managed by the feds, but Oregon counties get half the profits from timber sales.

Tom Tuchman is Gov. Kitzhaber’s forestry advisor. He says the tree thinning that’s currently taking place on the O and C forest doesn’t provide enough income for rural counties.

“The governor’s been very clear he’d like to see increased logging levels from today,” Tuchman said. “The question is where, when how and under what conditions would you do that.”

Kitzhaber’s panel is made up of county commissioners, environmentalists, and timber industry reps. He’s asked the panel to report back with a legislative proposal for the O & C lands in January.

This story originally appeared through the EarthFix public media collaboration.