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Cutting-Edge Tech Will Be Featured At Annual State Logging Conference

Forestnet.com (directional feller/winch assist), winch, Peter Linehan (drone)
Forestnet.com, Flickr.com

The 79th annual Oregon Logging Conference kicks off Thursday in Eugene.  As KLCC’s Brian Bull reports, the latest trends and tech will be all the buzz.  

At the Lane County Fairgrounds, stands an odd pair of heavy machines.  One’s a directional feller – which takes down trees.  It tethers to a tractor through a boomerang-shaped winch and pulley. 

Oregon logging conference board member Milt Moran says these enable “steep slope logging”…a relatively new technology.

“Traction-assisted with a set of cables off of another machine, that the operator runs remotely, through Bluetooth or radio communications," explains Moran.  

"And they’re able to work up and down those steep slopes.” 

There will also be drones…unmanned aerial systems that loggers can use for surveillance.

“You can get a drone up in the air, and zip around on a piece of timber much faster than a guy can.  We’re able to spot areas, maybe where there’s disease or insects.”  

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
Milt Moran, board member of the Oregon Logging Conference.

There’s even a virtual reality booth that lets people experience a modern-day logging camp.

As for trends, Moran says tall wood buildings are taking off.  He says there’s a 12-story building in Portland being made that’ll be safer than standard steel or concrete.

“And what we’re looking at with large wood timbers, is that they actually char over, protecting the steel joints and bolts, from fire. And they flex during earthquake type movements.” 

The conference wraps up Saturday.

Copyright 2017, KLCC.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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