Overwhelmed by wildfire Ore. Cattlemen create taskforce

By Oregon Cattlemen’s Association

In response to the growing and devastating wildfires in Harney and Malheur Counties, Oregon Cattlemen’s Association President Curtis Martin today announced the creation of RESTOR, a task force within OCA dedicated to providing assistance and education, building understanding and awareness, and facilitating improvements regarding current and future wildfires in the state.

RESTOR (Restore Everything Strategically Through Organized Response) will be led by Colby Marshall, a Burns native who spent eight years managing natural resource and energy issues on the staff of Rep. Greg Walden, and who currently helps manages his family’s ranch near Burns. Also on the RESTOR task force: Bob Skinner, former OCA President and livestock producer from Jordan Valley; Kay Teisl, Executive Director of the OCA; Jeff Rose, Associate Burns District Manager of the Bureau of Land Management; Chad Karges, Deputy Manger of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge; Tony Svejcar, Rangeland Scientist and Research Leader at the Agricultural Research Service in Burns.

“The problem of wildfires is so enormously devastating that we felt the creation of a dedicated resource was the only way to provide the focus and attention this issue requires,” said OCA President Curtis Martin, a rancher from Baker City. “With his policy experience and deep knowledge of ranching, Colby is the right person to drive this process and to help us channel our resources to their highest and best use.”

RESTOR will work within the OCA and the Oregon cattle community to:

Interface with the Bureau of Land Management, other federal agencies, the State of Oregon, local governments, and the Oregon Congressional delegation to channel resources and assistance to Oregon’s livestock communities affected by current wildfires, and to improve federal response to future fires.

Enhance public understanding of these crises by commissioning an economic study to examine the direct and indirect economic and societal costs of wildfires in Oregon.

Convene a Restoration Roundtable discussion in the Fall of 2012 to explore improvements at the federal, state and local levels to reduce the frequency and intensity of wildfires, and to improve government and community responses when they occur.

Serve as a primary point of contact for the media and other information seekers regarding current and future wildfire disasters in the state.

The first order of business for RESTOR is conducting community meetings to gather impact information from those affected. Meeting will be held in Jordan Valley on Tuesday, July 24, 4PM (MT) at the Lions Hall and in Frenchglen on Wednesday, July 25, 4PM at the Frenchglen School. All are welcome to attend.

RESTOR will operate as a task force within the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association which is a membership organization serving the Oregon’s livestock community working to promote environmentally and socially sound industry practices based on research and data, improve and strengthen the economic impact of the industry, and protect industry and property rights.

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