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Wyden Timber Plan Aims To Bolster Hard-Hit Logging Towns

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber introduces U.S. Senator Ron Wyden during a press conference at the Oregon capitol Tuesday.
Chris Lehman
/
Northwest News Network
Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber introduces U.S. Senator Ron Wyden during a press conference at the Oregon capitol Tuesday.

Oregon U.S. Senator Ron Wyden says his latest proposal to increase logging on Oregon forest land will also respect environmental concerns. 

The Democrat unveiled his proposal alongside Oregon governor JohnKitzhaberat the state capitol in Salem Tuesday.

Wyden’s plan would more than double the timber harvest in 18 western Oregon counties. The land was originally granted to the old Oregon & California railroad. Wyden says it would streamline the environmental review process required to begin cutting wood.

"We want some relief for these rural communities that are walking on an economic tightrope every single day," Wyden told a crowded press conference. "They have been hit by a wrecking ball over the last decade, decade and a half."

Wyden says his plan would conserve old growth forest. But several conservation groups criticized the proposal as a shortcut around environmental regulations. And a group made up of some timber county commissioners said the plan wouldn't create enough logging jobs in hard-hit communities.

Copyright 2013 Northwest News Network

Chris Lehman
Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.