PORTLAND, Ore. – The Oregon Forest Resources Institute (OFRI) today announced that Paul Barnum will be its new executive director effective August 21. OFRI is a semi-independent state organization dedicated to forestry education. Barnum replaces Leslie Lehmann who is retiring after serving nearly 16 years as OFRI’s founding executive director.
“We’re delighted that Paul Barnum has agreed to join OFRI,” said Carol Whipple, OFRI’s board chair. “Paul’s extensive experience in communications and public affairs, combined with his forestry knowledge, are an excellent fit for OFRI’s needs and for those served by OFRI’s educational programs. I also want to commend Leslie Lehmann for her strong leadership of OFRI since its inception and wish her the very best in retirement.”
Barnum joins OFRI after a career in both private and public sectors. He is a former chair of OFRI’s board and also served as president of SOLV, a statewide conservation organization.
In accepting the position, Barnum noted his strong commitment to working with Oregon’s diverse population to increase understanding of natural resources management. “I am passionate about managing our forest resources responsibly for the benefit of all citizens and welcome the opportunity to further that ideal as OFRI’s executive director,” he said.
Most recently Barnum was a senior writer with Russell Investments in Tacoma and before that held a series of public affairs and communications jobs with Weyerhaeuser Company. He has worked as an account executive for a Eugene public affairs firm, project manager for University of Oregon Public Affairs and Development, adjunct instructor of public relations for the University of Oregon School of Journalism, director of public information with Clatsop Community College, and editor and writer for weekly newspapers. He holds a B.A. in English and an M.A. in Journalism from the University of Oregon.
The Oregon State Legislature created the Oregon Forest Resources Institute (OFRI) in 1991 to improve public understanding of forestry and the state’s forest resources and to help landowners achieve environmentally sound forest management. OFRI is funded by a portion of the harvest tax on forest products producers. The OFRI Board represents small, medium and large forest products producers, small woodland owners and forest products employees. Ex-officio board members include the dean of the Oregon State University College of Forestry and a representative of the general public appointed jointly by the president of the Oregon Senate and the speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives.
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