Many Oregon counties that rely on proceeds from federal timber sales are staring down into a financial abyss as funds from those sales and other federal assistance dries up. The recession has knocked the stuffin’ out of the housing industry, leaving rural Oregon counties with a lump of coal in their revenue sock because timber sales are way down from historic averages. Lincoln County’s revenue picture is not so grim because it has a slightly broader tax base and higher property taxes than most rural counties. Lincoln County has also been laying off employees to better match labor costs with available revenues.
But for other counties, notably Josephine, Curry, Coos and Douglas, they worry about funds for their schools, law enforcement and roads and there has even been speculation about what could happen to rural communities within those counties if those services are not maintained.
However, a few Oregon Congessmen have been crafting legislation that would provide a game-changer in the way timber funds from tree harvests are handled. The story is in the Oregonian. Click here.
Here’s another take on it by the Coos Bay World newspaper. Click here.