Oregon is the number one producer of lumber and plywood in the US, and we make products that every American relies upon. We all use more than 5,000 wood products in our daily lives, from the toilet paper in our bathrooms to the timber in our houses. We should be proud they’re made in Oregon. The forest products industry employs thousands of Oregonians and is the economic heart of many rural communities.
As governor, I will promote our forest products economy while protecting environmental values that include wildlife habitat, clean water, and functioning streams. In fact, Oregon’s world class forestry practices enable us to make wood products sustainably, and the research and development occurring every day in private companies and at universities like OSU is elevating the role of wood products as a superior green building material, which reduces the carbon footprint of the built environment and yields resources that will make it faster, easier, and cheaper to build much-needed housing.
As governor, I will look out for Oregon’s forests and for the people who work them. I will support a complete and robust wildfire prevention system for all forest landowners, and I will make sure the federal government, which owns 60% of Oregon’s forest, is a credible participant in our forest management plans.
The catastrophic fires that have hit our state in the last few years are the result of decades of willful negligence in Salem. Kate Brown and Tina Kotek have allowed extremist positions to overtake common sense policy and they failed to adopt sound and reasonable forest management policy. Because of their inaction, today we have 6.6 million acres in critical need of restoration management to prevent more catastrophic wildfires. The recent conservation and management agreement between forestry and environmental groups will impact about 30% of the private forest land in the state. The vast majority of Oregon’s 29 million acres of forest are owned by the government, and the federal government is, by far, the biggest landowner.
As governor, I will provide leadership to better manage our neglected public forestlands to prevent the catastrophic wildfires that destroy healthy forests and pump vast amounts of carbon pollution into the air. I will direct state foresters to immediately implement a program to thin forests, and I will be a very loud voice in Washington, D.C., demanding that the federal government do the same on federal forests in Oregon. And I will make sure the wood does not go to waste. Oregon timber companies are innovating the next generation of wood products. I believe that, with encouragement and investment from the state, these companies could turn the scrap wood from Oregon’s thinned forests into sustainable building materials for Oregon homes. We should be making that happen today.