County board opposes Wyden forest plan

Jackson County commissioners split along party lines in opposition today to U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden's proposed forest plan to make Oregon less susceptible to wildfires and to streamline environmental reviews.

"I wholeheartedly oppose the legislation of Sen. Wyden," said Commisisoner Jack Walker. He said it would be a detriment to both the state and the county.

Walker and Commissioner C.W. Smith, both Republicans, voted for a board order opposing Wyden's legislation known as the Oregon Forest Restoration and Old Growth Protection Act of 2009.

Commissioner Dave Gilmour, a Democrat who voted against the order, said he was concerned about the tenor of the order, particularly because Wyden has been extremely supportive of Jackson County through the years and during the economic downturn.

"It's biting the hand that feeds us," he said.

Both Smith and Walker said the proposed legislation would not achieve what it sets out to do, namely achieving forest restoration and older growth protection.

— Damian Mann

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