Comments on the State Forester Resignation

The Oregon Department of Forestry Department announced this week that the State Forester, Marvin Brown, is leaving at the close of 2010.  Below are some quotes on the resignation and the official press release from the Department of Forestry.

Business Week: Jim Geisinger, executive director of Associated Oregon Loggers, said Brown could have done a better job to steer the Board of Forestry to stronger support for timber production, and win better funding from the Legislature. “In spite of everything that’s happened to this industry, we’re still the second biggest in Oregon,” he said. “We think there could have been some stronger leadership through difficult times.”

OPB NewsThe decision comes during a tumultuous year for the agency. Tensions boiled this year between the environmental community and the Forestry Department over a decision to expand logging on state forests. .. The move won praise from environmentalists like Bob Van Dyk with the Wild Salmon Center.   

The Oregonian: “Timberland owners were upset when their costs for covering firefighting services unexpectedly increased. A move to cut fire danger from juniper slash in eastern Oregon was interpreted as a “juniper tax.” Conservation groups felt marginalized in the discussion on state forest logging.
…The diplomatic challenges will only increase in the next legislative session, with a $3 billion shortfall projected in the state’s 2011-2013 budget. Environmental groups will push for greater protection of salmon streams and recreation sites. Legislators will seek to further cut general fund contributions to the agency. And timberland owners expect a drive for increased fees to cover the costs of regulation and firefighting, even as the timber industry battles its own slump.”We truly are headed into a place in this state that we’ve never been before,” said Ray Wilkeson,  executive director of the Oregon Forest Industries Council. “These are important programs and we want to pay our share, but to just expect us to pay more costs — we’re not going to accept that at face value.” Wilkeson declined to comment on Brown’s resignation. “

Press Release
By Oregon Department of Forestry

Oregon State Forester Marvin Brown is stepping down at the end of the year, Board of Forestry Chair John L. Blackwell announced Monday.  The Board accepted Brown’s resignation after determining that the Department of Forestry needs fresh leadership.

Blackwell, of Portland, said the seven-member board believes that new leadership is essential as the board and the Oregon Department of Forestry address complex and difficult issues ahead.

“Marvin has deep knowledge of forestry, and of the many public benefits that sound forest management provides,” Blackwell said. “We thank him for his steady leadership and professionalism during challenging times.”

He praised Brown’s role in improving management plans for state-owned forests, and in guiding the board in carrying out Governor Ted Kulongoski’s direction to provide a voice and vision for Oregonians in the management of federal forestlands, the bulk of Oregon’s forestland base.

“For nearly eight years, Marvin Brown has been a key member of my natural resources cabinet,” Kulongoski said. “From guiding the discussion on federal forestlands to acquisition of the first new state forest in more than 60 years, Marvin leaves with a solid record of achievement.  I wish him all the best in his new endeavors.”

The Board of Forestry’s members, who are nominated by the governor and confirmed by the state Senate, oversee forest policy matters within the state’s jurisdiction, and appoint the state forester, who serves as director of the Department of Forestry.

Challenges confronting the board and department include working with forest landowners, conservation groups, community organizations, legislators and others to sustain essential services, such as wildfire protection and enforcement of environmental laws, in the face of a depressed forest economy and shrinking state budgets, Blackwell said.

“These services and others are vital in achieving sustainable forests, which in turn benefit the state as a whole,” Blackwell said. “Keeping these programs viable in these economic times will require united effort and broad support among many interests, and we’ll continue to strive for that unity.”

Brown’s resignation is planned to be effective December 31, 2010.   Blackwell said the process for selecting a permanent replacement would begin immediately.

Brown, named Oregon’s state forester in 2003, has extensive professional experience in the public and private sectors. He held several leadership positions with the Missouri Department of Conservation, including seven years as Missouri state forester. His career experience also includes work in the forest products industry and with numerous professional associations and international forest policy forums.

The Department of Forestry’s responsibilities include providing fire protection on about 15.8 million acres – primarily privately owned lands – enforcing forest practices and other laws, educating landowners, managing state-owned forestland, and providing urban forestry assistance.


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