What does OFRI stand for?

OFRI staff

In the late 1980s, forest landowners and the Oregon Legislature began to realize the forest sector needed a public agency to advocate for the importance of Oregon’s forests, forest management and forest products.

So in 1991 the Legislature created OFRI. The Institute operates under a model similar to Oregon’s 23 agricultural commodity commissions. Each of those is funded by a privilege tax, paid by growers, to support their educational and marketing activities, and each is governed by a volunteer board whose members are appointed by the director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

Because OFRI deals with forestry, the Oregon State Forester appoints our board’s voting members, who represent landowners managing small, medium and large tracts of forestland in Oregon. The 13-member board also includes a member who represents forest-industry employees, as well as two non-voting members: the dean of the Oregon State University College of Forestry and a public representative appointed by the president of the Oregon Senate and the speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives.

State laws govern all of OFRI’s activities. The board meets at least quarterly. The meetings are open to the public, and there is opportunity for public comment.

Revenue to support OFRI’s educational programs comes from a portion of a timber harvest tax. The Institute does not receive state general fund money. And even through the majority of OFRI’s revenue comes from private landowners, OFRI advocates for all of Oregon’s forests – public and private.

OFRI’s mission is to advance public understanding of Oregon’s forests, forest management and forest products. Our audiences include the general public, K-12 students and teachers, forest landowners and the users of wood products in the architecture, engineering and construction community. We work closely with experts in the scientific, academic and educational communities at Oregon State University, the Oregon Department of Forestry and non-governmental organizations, to make sure the information we present is factual, current and credible.

Our work is directed by nine employees (shown in photo above) – six in Portland and three in our office at The Oregon Garden in Silverton, where we manage a 15-acre forest used for educational purposes. We rely on contractors for specialized services such as educational media, websites, publications, curriculum development, teacher professional development, etc.

OFRI’s budget is about $4 million, with roughly one-quarter of that spent on television and digital media. History has shown that educational mediais the best way to reach Oregon’s growing population, especially newcomers who have little or no connection with natural-resource use.

It’s a privilege to tell the story of all of Oregon’s forests, which include public and private forestland, as well as parks, reserves and wilderness areas. It’s also a challenge – one we undertake with energy, humility and grace.

For the forest,

Paul Barnum

Executive Director 


9755 SW Barnes Rd., Suite 210        
Portland, OR 97225        
Phone: 971-673-2944        
Fax: 971-673-2946

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