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Revived housing construction should help rural Oregon jobs, report says

Industry research group calls for revisiting federal timber policies


Wood products and related industries still account for one in 20 Oregon jobs, and that share is poised to grow now that housing construction is reviving.

That’s the assessment of a new report by the Oregon Forest Resources Institute, an industry-funded research group in Portland.

The report suggests thousands of new rural jobs could be created, given the right market conditions and a dependable supply of raw material.

Authors estimate that standing timber volume in the state, on all public and private lands, is about the same as it was in 1953.

Report authors praise the Oregon Forest Practices Act, which sets regulations for timber-cutting on private lands, but they call for revisiting federal timber policies, which have dramatically reduced cutting in national forest and other federal lands.

The report also recommends efforts to pursue overseas markets for Oregon timber, and ways to monetize what it calls “ecosystem services” such as wetlands mitigation banks, biodiversity, cold water production and carbon sequestration.

“The report recommends solutions that balance the economic benefits of sustainable timber harvest with the dividends of healthy forest ecosystems,” says Paul Barnum, executive director of the Oregon Forest Resources Institute.

OFRI executive director.

To read the report: theforestreport.org