News Releases

Stay up to date with the latest OFRI happenings in our news releases, including updates on new publications, programs, conferences, events and board activities.

OFRI board welcomes new members
01.13.2022

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Oregon Forest Resources Institute (OFRI) Board of Directors welcomes three new members this month.

Jennifer Beathe, a forester with Corvallis-based Starker Forests, will fill a Class 2 position on the board, representing medium-size timber producers. Her responsibilities at Starker include managing culvert and bridge construction projects, public outreach and engagement, and public affairs.

Gordon Culbertson will serve on the board as a representative for small woodland owners. He and his wife, Gail, own Whitewater Forests LLC, managing three tree farms certified under the American Tree Farm System. In 2019, they were chosen by the Oregon Tree Farm System as Oregon Tree Farmers of the Year.

Brian Trenholm, the southern Oregon region manager for Weyerhaeuser, will fill a Class 3 position for large timber producers. He has worked at Weyerhaeuser for 21 years, holding multiple positions in the company, including stints as the Oregon marketing manager, harvest manager and log sales manager. 

Beathe, Culbertson and Trenholm are replacing outgoing board members Casey Roscoe, Audrey Barnes and Steve McNulty, respectively. 

The state forester appoints the 11 voting members of the 13-member OFRI board to serve three-year terms. The voting members include nine representatives of timber producer classes, with three each from small (Class 1), medium (Class 2) and large (Class 3) producers; one member representing small woodland owners; and one representative for forest industry employees. The board has two ex officio members, the dean of the Oregon University College of Forestry and a public member appointed jointly by the president of the Oregon Senate and the speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives. 

The OFRI board will hold its next meeting virtually on Jan. 20. The meeting, which will take place from 9 a.m. to noon, is open to the public. The meeting agenda and link to attend via Zoom are available on OFRI’s Oregon Forests.org website on the board meeting and materials page


About the Oregon Forest Resources Institute:
The Oregon Legislature created the Oregon Forest Resources Institute (OFRI) in 1991 to support and enhance Oregon’s forest products industry by advancing public understanding of forests, forest management and forest products, and encouraging sustainable forestry through landowner education. A 13-member board of directors governs OFRI. It is funded by a portion of the forest products harvest tax.
 

Study finds 2020 Labor Day fires significantly impacted Oregon’s forest sector
09.08.2021

PORTLAND, Ore. – Oregon’s forest-dependent businesses and industries suffered an estimated $5.9 billion in economic losses as a result of the Labor Day wildfires that one year ago burned more than a million acres across the western part of the state, a newly released study commissioned by the Oregon Forest Resources Institute (OFRI) concludes.

Conducted by experts from the natural resource consulting firm Mason, Bruce & Girard, in partnership with the forestry economic analysis and forecasting firm Forest Economic Advisors, the 104-page study looked at the economic impacts of last year’s Labor Day fires on Oregon’s forest sector, which ranged from lost timber and logging equipment to forest restoration efforts made more difficult by a shortage of tree seedlings. 

The Labor Day 2020 Fires: Economic Impacts to Oregon’s Forest Sector study report can be downloaded here. The report looks at the various ways forest landowners and businesses, such as logging companies and sawmills, were affected by last year’s fires, finding that the Labor Day wildfires had substantial impacts on the sector, and will continue to impact Oregon’s timber supply, forest-related employment and other economic factors well into the future. 

The analysis focuses on the fires’ impact in terms of acreage burned and timber lost across public and private forestland, the economic value of timber lost in the fires, the potential to salvage timber burned in the fires, and the long-term impact on future timber supply to the state’s wood products manufacturing sector. The study also investigated the scale and costs of needed post-fire forest restoration, including infrastructure repair, erosion control, stream protection and reforestation. 

About the Oregon Forest Resources Institute:
The Oregon Legislature created the Oregon Forest Resources Institute (OFRI) in 1991 to support and enhance Oregon’s forest products industry by advancing public understanding of forests, forest management and forest products, and encouraging sustainable forestry through landowner education. A 13-member board of directors governs OFRI. It is funded by a portion of the forest products harvest tax.
 

Secretary of State releases OFRI audit report
07.21.2021

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Oregon Secretary of State Audits Division has released its full audit report on the Oregon Forest Resources Institute (OFRI). The publishing of this report concludes a 10-month process by the Secretary of State to complete the audit, which examined OFRI’s legislative mandate and operations. 

In August 2020, Gov. Kate Brown requested that the Secretary of State perform a thorough performance audit of OFRI. The following month, the Audits Division began working with OFRI to fulfill this request, including gathering pertinent documents, and interviewing OFRI staff, board members and stakeholders.  

After concluding their research, state auditors today officially released their findings and recommendations for OFRI. Read the full audit report, which includes an official response from OFRI, here. OFRI has also published a response to the audit process, the report and its recommendations, as well as next steps for the Institute, on its website. 

“OFRI appreciates the Oregon Secretary of State Audits Division for their work on this audit,” says OFRI Executive Director Erin Isselmann. “We agree with the operational recommendations in the audit regarding ways to improve our performance, and are already in the process of implementing them.”

In the coming months, OFRI will act on all of the audit’s recommendations for the Institute, including developing a new strategic plan, improving transparency, and engaging with a broader array of stakeholders. The public will be invited to be involved in this process to ensure OFRI’s forest education programs best serve the interests of all Oregonians. 

About the Oregon Forest Resources Institute:

The Oregon Forest Resources Institute (OFRI) was created by the Oregon Legislature in 1991 to support and enhance the state’s forest products industry by advancing public understanding of forests, forest management and forest products. A 13-member board of directors governs OFRI. It is funded by a portion of the forest products harvest tax.
 

Oregon Forest Resources Institute grant funds interpretive signage at Oregon Coast Aquarium
06.16.2021

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Oregon Forest Resources Institute (OFRI) has awarded a $100,000 grant to the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport for new interpretive signage informing Aquarium visitors about Oregon’s coastal forests, sustainable forest management, and the connections between forest and ocean ecosystems.

The signage will be located near the existing estuary nature trail, and three new additions to the Aquarium: a children’s nature play area, a headwaters exhibit on the salmon life cycle and an outdoor amphitheater. Construction of the playground, headwaters exhibit and amphitheater is expected to be completed by fall 2021. The projects are part of an $18.2 million capital campaign to upgrade and expand the capacity of the Aquarium.

An OFRI staff forester will help develop content for the signs, which will narrate the progression of a raindrop from the forest to the sea while highlighting sustainable forest management practices. The signage will also serve as the basis for expanding the curriculum for the Aquarium’s on-site, online and outreach education programs to include lessons on Oregon’s forests.

These programs typically reach more than 525,000 people annually, with Pre-K-12 students making up over half that number. This audience offers OFRI a unique partnership opportunity to highlight forest management and sustainability messages for school groups, notes Oregon Coast Aquarium Director of Development Molly Dumas.

“By supporting new signage and interpretive programs, the OFRI grant will help us tell a bigger story about the forest and its connection to the coast,” she says. 
A shift to distance learning over the past year necessitated by the pandemic meant OFRI’s spending to support in-person K-12 forest education programs was less than in a typical year. This led to unanticipated savings for OFRI’s K-12 Education Program, allowing the Institute to provide a grant to the Oregon Coast Aquarium, says OFRI Executive Director Erin Isselmann.

“The interpretative signage OFRI is supporting through this grant serves to maintain our longtime commitment to K-12 forestry education, and to help students for many years to come better understand the integral role forests play in Oregon’s coastal environments,” she says.

“These new signs will allow students, families and other visitors to the Aquarium to see firsthand how oceans and forests are connected, and the ways in which both are important to our state,” says OFRI Director of K-12 Education Programs Norie Dimeo-Ediger.

The Aquarium’s new children’s nature play area was funded largely by a donation from Corvallis-based Starker Forests. It will be built on a former mill site, and pay homage to its historic use with interactive components designed to engage children in the outdoors while informing them about forests and coastal ecosystems. Children will be able to scramble up massive logs, climb a fire tower, slide down a mock river chute and learn about forest animals. The adjoining headwaters exhibit will feature a circulating stream and salmon sculptures. Nearby, a new amphitheater will host educational presentations on coastal wildlife.

Starker Forests was honored to provide funding for the nature play area and the company is excited to partner with the Aquarium and OFRI on the accompanying interpretive signage, says Starker Forests Shareholder Relations Manager and Vice Chairwoman Anna Starker May.

“We have always felt the Oregon Coast Aquarium is uniquely situated to provide interpretation that would trace the journey of a drop of water falling on the crest of the Coast Range through the forest to the ocean,” she says. “This nature play project with interpretation support from OFRI accomplishes that vision of connecting the upland forest ecosystem to the ocean. We are excited to see the exhibit come to life, and to bring forestry education to children and families visiting the Aquarium.” 

To learn more about the Oregon Coast Aquarium’s capital campaign, visit givetoaquarium.org

About the Oregon Forest Resources Institute:

The Oregon Forest Resources Institute (OFRI) was created by the Oregon Legislature in 1991 to support the state’s forest products industry by advancing public understanding of forests, forest management and forest products, and encouraging sustainable forestry through landowner education. A 13-member board of directors governs OFRI. It is funded by a portion of the forest products harvest tax.

About the Oregon Coast Aquarium:

The Oregon Coast Aquarium creates unique and engaging experiences that connect you to the Oregon Coast and inspire ocean conservation. An accredited Association of Zoos & Aquariums institution, this nonprofit organization is ranked as one of the top 10 aquariums in the U.S. Visit them at 2820 S.E. Ferry Slip Rd. in Newport, Ore. Contact them at aquarium.org or 541-867-3474. Follow them on Facebook or Twitter for the latest updates.

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