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Dec-03-2008 13:17printcomments

The WOPR - What is the Price Tag for Oregon Residents?

Our BLM forest lands need to be managed to be economically productive every year, not once in the life time of a human.

Reflective colors of an Oregon BLM forest
Reflective colors of an Oregon BLM forest
Photo by Tim King Salem-News.com

(CAVE JUNCTION, Ore.) - Increased logging under the new Western Oregon Plan Revision (WOPR) will create timber jobs but the BLM acknowledges these jobs may be created at the expense of losing jobs and income in other economic sectors. The BLM provides no explanation in the WOPR of what these losses might be or who will be affected but a downloadable report on Highway199.org provides a good insight. Some of the concerns outlined in this report are summarized below.

Loss of property value:

Land valuation research confirms that natural or forested areas can increase property value by about 5% for properties within view of forested landscapes and 6% for homes within a short proximity of forested lands. Some estimates for the influence of natural areas on the value of property go as high as 20% for areas where a forest interfaces with suburban neighborhoods.

The importance of scenic vistas and natural areas in real estate marketing is already a well known fact, as can be seen in the sales pitch of many real estate advertisements.

The WOPR’s plan to dramatically alter the landscape with clear cut logging can be expected to reduce private property value near to or within view of these lands by about 5% or about $11,000 for many homes in Oregon’s O&C land corridor.

Ironically, many land owners support the WOPR because of property “tax savings” without realizing that it may take up to 80 years for these so-called “tax savings” to pay back to land owners what they will likely lose in land value.

Travel and recreation:

Travel and recreation industry jobs can never be taken from a community by outsourcing but these jobs can be eliminated by thoughtless destruction of forest assets that support these industries. This is what the WOPR threatens to do.

Research indicates the number one reason people travel is to view scenery and the number one recreation activity they enjoy is walking. The WOPR is poised to reduce our scenic assets with clear cut logging and create timber plantations that, in much of Oregon, typically turn into brush-choked thickets that have no recreational appeal. In this way, the WOPR will reduce, if not completely eliminate, the values in the forest that contribute to the stability and growth of travel dependent businesses. Impairment of Oregon’s marketing appeal places us at a disadvantage in the competitive global tourism market, which places us at risk of losing billions of dollars that are annually contributed to Oregon’s economy by the travel and recreation industry.

Quality of Life:

Forest and stream degradation expected under the WOPR will reduce quality of life assets that make Oregon attractive to retirees, home-based entrepreneurs, inventors, telecommuters and to knowledge-based industries looking for a place to locate their enterprise. The loss of these assets places Oregon at risk of discouraging these viable sources of income and jobs from moving to Oregon. Quality of life values in the forest open the door to limitless opportunities for economic growth. The WOPR intends to sacrifice these values to create and support a static 3,000 timber jobs with no possibility of growth for as far as can be seen into the future. The WOPR rejects a strategy of economic growth in Oregon to pursue a strategy of economic stagnation.

Efficiency:

The WOPR intends to commit each acre of BLM land to an unimaginable sluggish economic production cycle of 80-100 years with forestry practices that impair job and income creation in other forest-dependent industries. Our BLM forest lands need to be managed to be economically productive every year not once in the life time of a human. This can be accomplished by managing the forest to grow forest assets that put as many industries and businesses to work as possible. This is what the O&C Act directs the BLM to do but they refuse to obey. The result is a plan that will drive the Oregon economy in the direction of stagnation by impairing our ability to make ourselves competitive in the emerging global economy. This type of planning is what got the United States into our current economic crisis and the WOPR will unquestionably increase the crisis in Oregon.

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You can send an email to Roger Brandt at this address: rpbrandt@cavenet.com




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