Here is information about one of the most innovative government projects I have seen in a long time. State Representative Julie Parrish is partnering with local governments, businesses, Universities, and even homeowners to create a sustainable renewable industry. I am proud that West Linn will be the first municipal partner to join within clackamas county.
Launched in 2013, the goal of the Clackamas Hardwood Forest Project is to create a robust hardwood forest economy in Oregon. Historically, Oregon’s forest and wood products market has consisted of soft wood timber and corresponding wood products.
Clackamas Hardwood Forest Project is designed to convert non-producing, infill assets of state government, municipalities, school districts, businesses, non-profit organizations, and even homeowners into an urban hardwood forest that can be harvested and milled for a variety of timber and non-timber products, both domestically and for export.
For years, Oregon’s state and local governments have suffered from budget shortfalls resulting in increasing costs to Oregonians in the form of taxes and fees. These shortfalls have had a significant impact on public safety, education, and general operational costs of government. Parallel to those budget shortfalls has been the decline of our timber industry and the manufacturing economy that existed when the timber industry was at its peak.
The Clackamas Hardwood Forest Project was developed to consider how Oregon government could leverage existing maintenance and landscape budgets, and underutilized or non-income producing assets, and convert them into positive revenue streams for general fund operations.
How It Works:
With the help of the Clackamas County forester, Rick Gruen, the Clackamas Hardwood Forest Project led by State Representative Julie Parrish, and David Barmon, of Fiddlehead, LLC., will work with partners in Spring 2014 to plant a variety of hardwood species trees in areas designated by project partners.
Trees planted will be geo-identified and placed into the Clackamas County Hardwood Co-op. Once in the co-op, the trees will be tagged specifically for the purpose of economic development. In 2015, a new law will be proposed to ensure that trees in the co-op will be unencumbered for harvest in the future.
When trees are available for harvest, the county forester, who will serve as the co-op director, will organize the sale of the trees, distributing the proceeds back to co-op partners under the agreement created by the co-op director.
The tree sale will create revenues for the co-op members. In the case of a government entity, the proceeds can go back into the general fund to be used for other programs and services. The trees sold into the marketplace will have a future in the form of artisan wood products; home interior construction materials, commercial building materials, and a variety of non- timber related products. Additionally, the county forester will work to ensure that unusable products are directed into the bio-mass/bio-fuel industry.
Lastly, we believe that there could also be an opportunity to participate and realize income from the sale of carbon tax offsets.