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.

Timber industry, environmental groups collaborate on new laws to protect fish habitat
03.09.2022

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Private Forest Accord, a coalition representing both the timber industry and multiple major environmental organizations, has helped usher in substantial upcoming changes to Oregon’s forest practices regulations. The changes are part of a legislative package negotiated and proposed by the diverse group that passed this month in the 2022 Oregon legislative session.

Gov. Kate Brown convened what would become known as the Private Forest Accord in 2020 to avoid Oregon citizens being faced with competing ballot measures on forestry regulations that year. A new webpage developed by the Oregon Forest Resources Institute (OFRI) offers detailed information about the accord and a timeline of significant events related to it.

The webpage also provides information for Oregonians about new laws associated with the accord. Three successful bills were the result of nearly a year of mediated discussions between timber and conservation stakeholders; they will change logging and other forest practices regulations for private forestland under the Oregon Forest Practices Act, with the goal of better protecting forest stream habitat for fish and other aquatic species. 

The Oregon Board of Forestry is now tasked with integrating the regulations outlined in the bills into the Oregon Forest Practices Act. These include expanded restrictions on logging along streams to protect fish habitat, new standards for private forest roads, and creating a new modeling system to mitigate the effects of logging on steep slopes to reduce landslide risk. 

To learn more about the Private Forest Accord and how Oregon’s forest practices regulations are changing, visit OregonForests.org/private-forest-accord.

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.
 

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.
 

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