Congressman Greg Walden addressed his concerns today during an interview with Carl Wilson on KAJO AM 1270 about the collapse of law enforcement systems in counties across Oregon and how the constructive use of timber lands could help alleviate this issue.
According to Walden, he would not wager on the possibility of federal funds coming back to the counties to pay for law enforcement but if we created a sustainable logging industry in Oregon we would have the needed funds, “If we could free up, especially on our natural resources, the ability to get back in and use really bright people who are trained to manage our forests and free up our energy resources, free our forests for active management, we could have a vibrant economy. You wouldn’t have this knock-down-drag-out fight over whether you could have a police officer on duty.”
The congressman then elaborated on how these forests could be maintained perpetually for continued revenue, “The first thing is, let’s restore the economy of these timber dependent communities. You do that by making sure there is predictability and certainty in timber supply and then lets rebuild the infrastructure and because of that certainty you could. So you don’t just have a few regional mills and that’s it.”
Walden added that he felt the situation has become so dire that a bi-partisan solution is likely forthcoming. Walden held a town hall in the Anne Basker Auditorium later in the afternoon and outlined how more timber harvest might come about, “The Northwest member of the house, Doc Hastings has said, he chairs the resources committee, that would be the committee of jurisdiction over any forest reform legislation, he said its one of his top two priorities this year to move a forestry bill and he’s very solid in our camp in what we want to do, to be able to free up the forests, and produce jobs, reduce the threat of fire, forest health, all those things….Senator Wyden chairs the comparable committee in the Senate.”
The Congressman’s point was the northwest has more congressional power now than in recent memory.