City hopes for big return on timber harvest
It didnt take the Scappoose City Council long to approve the harvest of 30 acres of forestland, but there will likely be further discussion about where the money from the timber sale will go.
City Forester Jay Worley estimates this years sale could bring in approximately $440,000. Profits from a city of Scappoose timber harvest have historically gone to the citys water fund, said City Manager Jon Hanken.
Councilor Donna Gedlich asked if all the money had to go to the water fund, or could it go somewhere else for instance, to the general fund, to defray rising utility costs that have led the city to consider substantially raising residents water rates.
This isnt going to solve the problem, Hanken told her, adding that deferred maintenance and the debt service on utility facilities are the driving forces behind the proposed increase.
Those are your big issues, he said.
The discussion, however, will likely continue as the city progresses in the budget planning process, he said.
In a memo to the council, Hanken recommended the money go to the citys water fund to help rehabilitate the citys Dutch Canyon well, repair a diversion pipe on the South Fork Dam and clean water impoundment areas behind Gourlay and South Fork dams.
Worley identified 90 acres of harvestable timber. The need to harvest is made more urgent by the fact that in the sections Worley surveyed, the trees are approaching an oversize condition, meaning they are between 45 and 100 years old with their trunks exceeding 28 inches in diameter. Hanken said most modern-day mills cant handle these larger logs and will not buy them.
Also, many of the trees are beginning to show signs of fungal disease in the form of conks large, mushroom-like growths that cause the wood in a trees trunk to slowly decay.
The 30-acre section Worley identified is located in the citys 320-acre Gourlay Creek Watershed tract in Scappoose.
Its yeah, its a clear cut, he said, but added that such a cut would be necessary to curtail the spread of the fungal disease. The last clear cut the city made has been successfully replanted, he said.
The harvest will likely take place in early summer, Worley said.