Experts say this year’s wildfire season will be severe

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Forest fire season is upon us again, and this year is likely not going to be pretty. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is already preparing, huge fires are burning in Southern California and Colorado, and the Washington Department of Natural Resources just sued a construction company it said caused the Taylor Bridge wildfire that burned 23,000 acres in Central Washington last … Read More

Success means the arrival of timber jobs

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As we pointed out last month, Weyerhaeuser is doing very well. Earnings for the first quarter of 2013 were up 30 percent from last year, and the company’s profit of $144 million was more than three times higher than its profit in the first quarter of 2013. Now we’re starting to see that success translate in local communities. The Longview Daily News reports … Read More

Adding insult to injury for NW timber counties

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These are not good times for Josephine County in Southwest Oregon. With little federal timber harvest, the rural county is nearly bankrupt and jobs are scarce. In 1975, Josephine and neighboring Jackson County had 22 sawmills. Last month, the one sawmill remaining – called Rough & Ready – closed for good. In the last week, both the Associated Press and … Read More

Can Sen. Wyden get timber reform done?

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All eyes are on Sen. Ron Wyden. The Oregon Democrat just took over as the chair of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resouces Committee, which means he’s in the unique position of having both the federal power and the local experience to finally approve a plan to make a meaningful increase in the federal timber harvest and end decades … Read More

Land deals will protect Washington working forests

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Over the course of 24 hours this week, two forest land sales were announced that will protect Washington timberland from widespread development. The sales come on the heels of an even larger forest land sale that was announced in southeast King County in March. All three sales follow the same pattern: a nonprofit land trust or county government is buying … Read More

As the industry rises, so does Weyerhaeuser

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Just as a new biography of its founder is published, Weyerhaeuser is riding high. Around its first-quarter earnings call last week, positive notices of the company have been published in Forbes, the Financial Times, Seattle Times and Motley Fool, among many other publications. Another Washington timber giant, Plum Creek Timber, also reported positive results in its earnings call. As Jon … Read More

Uncertainty is a daily reality for timber towns

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The headline out of Lane County, Ore., over the weekend was cheerful: “Resurgence in building boosts Lane County wood products industry.” The story in the Eugene Register-Guard, describing an upswing in the timber market, was similar to an article in the Wall Street Journal in February that also focused on Lane County, “Logging Towns Are on a Roll.” After some … Read More

Western political leaders call on their colleagues to act

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It’s good to see political leaders from the West show some leadership on the importance of our rural communities and rural economies, many of which are dependent on a healthy timber harvest. The Western Governors’ Association, which includes governors from 19 Western states, just sent a letter to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, telling him that federal forests are mismanaged … Read More

Wild or Working Olympics?

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Bill Driscoll, the great grandson of Weyerhaeuser founder Frederick Weyerhaeuser, may have lost his race for Congress in Washington’s 6th District last fall. But the debates started in that race aren’t over. Driscoll has an op-ed in today’s Seattle Times that prods his former opponent to solidify his stance on the Wild Olympics proposal. U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, … Read More

The fight didn’t stop with Northwest Forest Plan

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There is no doubt a more collaborative approach in our Northwest forests than there was 20 years ago. As we write about often, timber leaders, environmental groups and local, state and federal government are coming together in communities to reach solutions that work for everyone. But that doesn’t mean everybody is working together all of the time. This week marks … Read More