GRANTS PASS, Ore. — There’s a range of options for Congress regarding the so-called O&C timberlands in western Oregon. Gov. John Kitzhaber provided the list to Congress in hopes to help rural counties shore up cash-strapped budgets and produce logs for local mills.
Gov. Kitzhaber is hoping Congress will use the options to create legislation to resolving funding problems for counties heavily-dependent on timber funds. They have struggled nearly two decades since logging cutbacks were adopted on federal lands to protect the northern spotted owl and salmon.
The governor says he thinks options from the report can be put together that respect conservation values and still produce more than $70 million for the O&C counties — about double their last payment under a safety net that is expiring.