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County reveals plans for timber sale in Brightwood posted on 11/01/2018

The Clackamas County Forest and Timber Management Program detailed a plan to harvest timber on a 117-acre tract of county land during a public meeting on Oct. 18 at the Mt. Hood Oregon Resort.

The proposed site, named Boomer II after the native mountain beaver, is located one mile north of Hwy. 26 in Brightwood. A public tour of the county land was held on Oct. 20 to allow interested parties to observe the potential harvest area.

The Oct. 18 meeting was led by Clackamas County Forester Andrew Dobmeier. He was joined by members of the Clackamas County Forest Advisory Board and the Parks Advisory Board in answering questions and addressing concerns from the public regarding the proposed logging operation.

“Our focus is on protection of our soil, protection of our waters and maintaining a good planting site,” said Dobmeier during a conversation about the county’s approach to the harvest.

The meeting was attended by 15 community members, many of them Brightwood residents wary of further logging in the area after a contentious logging operation on private property in 2017 above the Timberline Rim neighborhood.

Local resident Bill Simonds, owner of Welches Mountain Building Supply and the closest neighbor to the proposed county site, detailed community complaints about the prior private logging operation but expressed optimism regarding the county’s plan for Boomer II site adjacent his property.

“I feel 100 percent better about this operation,” said Simonds while touring the site. “These guys care about the property and want to do it right.”

Other community members toured the county land to gain insight into the proposed logging’s impact on the watershed, including a section of Spring Creek in the southeastern portion of the tract.

“Our concern is sediment; What kind of erosion is being created,” said Gerald Murphy, member of the Sandy River Watershed Council and the Clackamas County Planning Commission. Murphy sought to conduct turbidity testing at the creek to monitor for an increase in sediment load during the operation. The county plan includes a 20-foot buffer established along the creek to prevent impact.

“This is Oregon. This is what we do,” said Murphy about the timber sale. “We just want it done right.”

Other issues raised during the tour included the visual impact of the site on the community.

“It’s kind of a concern when you pull into Brightwod, is it going to be right there?” asked Murphy.

The county foresters conducted line of sight measurements and described Boomer II as only visible along Hwy. 26 for a couple of seconds in the distant background.

The Boomer II site has been previously harvested and is currently forested with Douglas fir, hemlock, cedar, alder, maple and cottonwood, varying in age from 40 to 80 years due to fire and harvesting.

Net proceeds from the harvest of approximately 2,051 thousand board feet (MBF) of timber on 75 acres of the site will fund Clackamas County park and forest operations. The sale includes 1,500 MBF Douglas-fir, 200 MBF hemlock, 30 MBF cedar and 300 MBF hardwoods.

Dobmeier detailed the county’s plan to actively manage each portion of the harvest and sale to get the best return for the community and avoid recent issues with logging in Brightwood.

He stated the county intends to hire an Oregon logging company that is a member of the Associated Oregon Loggers and follows sustainable harvesting practice guidelines, as well as oversee the operation to assure minimal impact on the site and BLM roads.

“If you don’t do what we want, you’re out,” Dobmeier said about the county’s expectations for the logging companies bidding on the contract.

The county will begin bidding logging companies in November with the harvest scheduled to begin in January 2019 and end by June 30, 2019.

The logging company is expected to follow Sustained Forest Initiative practices and adhere to all Oregon Forest Practice Act rules. Other criteria for obtaining the contract include price, references, equipment and a timeline that is less disruptive to the community.

An estimated six to 12 loads of logs will be harvested on average a day, dependent on the operator and the portion of the site being used. Access to the site is through Mt. Hood Rock Products, and logging hours will be limited to the quarry’s hours of operation from 6:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. The county also intends to market the timber to mills themselves to bring in more value for the harvest.

 “We want to go to market our own way,” said Dobmeier about his intention to select certain timber for potential sale at a higher value as power poles, or in the case of select maple with figuring, to mills interested in producing for woodworkers.

He explained this as a different approach than a 2015 county sale to Columbia Vista Corporation, a mill that bought timber on stump and harvested solely for Douglas-fir while selling the other lumber as pulp. He stated the county hopes to increase the value of the sale by bringing to market all available resources and assuring active oversight of the environmental and community impact of the entire process.

The county intends to replant the site with Douglas-fir, Western Red Cedar and Western Red Pine. Western Hemlock is expected to seed naturally. Dobmeier discussed then managing the site with pre-commercial thinning on an established 50 to 60-year rotation as opposed to a 35 to 40-year harvest cycle.

“We’re here for the long run. We want to do it the right way,” said Dobmeier.

For more information contact County Forester Andrew Dobmeier at adobmeier@clackamas.us or visit www.clackamas.us/forests.

By Benjamin Simpson/MT




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