A battle royal is shaping up in state courts between the timber industry – those who see trees as nothing more than just “boards-in-waiting” vs. those who want a better future. A lawsuit has been filed by 14 counties (including Lincoln) who claim they’ve been cheated out of timber taxes because the state isn’t cutting trees on state lands fast enough to “properly support” local county and local district budgets. The picture below shows very heavy timber cutting in many areas of Lincoln County whose barren slopes are a threat to local rivers and streams with sediment that makes it hard for salmon and other fish species to spawn, deer and other wildlife to roam, and for outdoor hikers – those who don’t want to walk on what they call barren “moonscapes.”
Opponents to such clear cutting say tourists come to see the trees, streams and wildlife – not bald hillsides. Others decry the fact that a lot of the timber cut on Oregon lands is shipped overseas. Meanwhile, there are building materials that are far superior to wood that are readily available and for far less cost. Homes and mid-rise condos can be built far faster than conventional construction. And they’re higher quality to boot.
Americans used to ride around in buggies pulled by horses. Today cars and trucks are manufactured and are far better built. Factory fabricated homes and mid-rise condos are the future. And they don’t look like ugly old mobile homes.
A modular home is designed to provide the majority of America’s home buyers with a well built, high quality home. And they can do this at a value that can only be provided by utilizing the efficiencies of indoor factory construction. Combine that with outstanding design flexibility and high energy efficiency and you have a combination that far exceeds that of a home built using traditional, outdoor construction. Likewise, mid-rise apartments and condos are assembled just as easily.
Times change. Economies change. There are many ways to keep moving ahead while preserving Mother Earth’s natural environment which is at the heart of Oregon’s tourist economy and our quality of life. High quality modular housing is assembled quickly and is just as durable, if not more so, as hand-built homes. These lower cost neighborhoods don’t destroy our forests, pollute our water or threaten our tourism industry. In fact they generate new property taxes that are levied every year – much faster than growth cycles of timber. Time to start doing our homework.