Vibrant Economies

Oregon’s rural communities are struggling.  We need a plan that restores economic health and resilience to these communities.  We need to find a way to support and stabilize the timber industry and keep the family-wage jobs it provides.   But, we also need to diversify our rural community economic base.    Timber will be part of the package, but we must also take this opportunity to consider the other advantages that these timberlands bring and grow new industries.  

Independent economic consultants, Headwaters Economics, published a groundbreaking report in November 2012 (West is Best: Protected Lands Promote Jobs and Higher Incomes- How Public Lands in the West Create a Competitive Economic Advantage).  Carefully examining the economic performance of non-metropolitan counties throughout the west, it concludes that, ‘…western national parks, monuments, and other protected lands support faster rates of job growth and are correlated with higher levels of per capita income’.  A recent Outdoor Industry Association report revealed that the outdoor industry, and its associated recreational opportunities, contribute more than $12.8 billion annually to Oregon’s economy and support more than 141,000 jobs.

We need to take advantage of these opportunities to build vibrant rural communities.  The beautiful landscapes, clean water, recreational opportunities, hunting and fishing in these amazing lands provide give us a piece of the puzzle, responsible timber harvest is another piece.  Together we can fit the pieces together to create the diversified economic portfolio that will ensure our communities are healthy, resilient and strong.

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Protecting the O&C Lands