Working in rural communities on the Oregon coast, I spend a lot of time with folks who, like myself, are impacted by the logging industry in many ways. Everyone I work with suffers the negative impacts of logging: Polluted water and reduced streamflows, landslides dumping mud into rivers and smothering fish eggs, and the mass poisoning of native flora and fauna from the sky. These rural communities are left with crumbling roads and schools as the industry has decreased their own taxes and automated as much of their operation as they could.
Through all of this, these corporations have always insisted that any protections for the environment would mean further job losses.
Yet, here we are in another year that the Oregon legislature has failed to pass even the most basic of new forest water protections and everywhere I look I see clearcutting companies shuttering mills, abandoning workers and outsourcing jobs, while refusing to pay their fair share of taxes and demanding public subsidies from new climate change legislation. All this while being the biggest carbon polluter in the state! This doesn’t seem like an industry that cares, all I see is are corporate fat cats that consider Oregon a resource colony to be exploited for their personal gain.
Here are some examples of these corporations putting CEO and Board profits before communities and workers.I’d love to see your thoughts about these stories in your local or regional opinion pages, it’s also helpful to give them a share on Facebook, or anywhere else you can help spread the word!
- Stimson Lumber throws tantrum, says they can’t afford to keep their 60 workers in Forest Grove despite spending over a million dollars on politics last year.
- Astoria Forest Products remains focused on shipping mill jobs overseas, cuts %40 of the local workforce while waiting out a trade war impacting raw-log exports! (Logs exported whole mean mill jobs in other countries, a hard hit for rural mills and workers)
- Georgia Pacific lays off 111 workers in Coos Bay, citing log exports to Asia, and a train bridge waiting too long for repairs.
- Logging interests fight for loopholes in new carbon regulations, despite being Oregon’s #1 source of carbon emissions.
- OSU research shows aerial spraying of herbicides on clearcuts, which rural Oregonians have been fighting against for decades, is hurting wildlife, isn’t necessary, and doesn’t even make financial sense for the companies that are doing it!
Give some of these stories a read - and when you are good and frustrated, head to social media and share, or to your email account, where you can share your thoughts with other frustrated Oregonians in a letter to the editor - and please let me know if you get one published!