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Revenue Diversification

The Oregon Department of Forestry “State Forest” division is in charge of managing all Board of Forestry lands in Oregon, including the Tillamook and Clatsop state forests. Approximately 98% of the funding for this management comes from logging, but the Department manages to provide a number of other values, including a substantial recreation infrastructure, science & monitoring projects, and interpretation &education opportunities. Moreover, for every $1 that ODF generates on state forest lands, $.66 goes to county government and local taxing districts. In short, ODF is asked to manage a giant forest for multiple benefits using 1/3 of the revenue from logging on that forest. There are no other substantial revenue streams.

This is a broke funding model. First, while public employee costs are rising, the value of timber is not. The timber market is dynamic and sees boom/bust cycles that can make planning unpredictable. On top of that, there are doubts as to how much timber is actually standing on the forest and how fast it is growing. Second, the demand for these forests to provide more than timber is real (and it’s important!). Oregonians are relying more and more on these lands for recreation, habitat, and carbon sequestration. But we are basically paying nothing to get those values.

ODF is requesting approximately $5.7 million for it’s 2017-2019 budget to support recreation, education, and interpretation. This money would come from the Oregon General Fund. If obtained, this money would provide a good first step to ensuring financial viability for the Oregon Department of Forestry. However, for long term sustainability, alternative revenue streams are needed.