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Timber harvest safety net payments end June 2007
By Rosalyn Rhinehart April 1, 2007, Medford, Oregon

There are three legs to the "milk" money stool here: The National Forest; Bureau of Land Management, and the O&C (Oregon-California Railroad). I'll cover just the O&C today and it's effects on just Jackson County (where I live) and Josephine County, to our west.

Timber harvest began here in the 1850's. Today 70% of Western Oregon belongs to the national forest; 10% belongs to private lumber companies, only forest industry remaining in Jackson County.

In 1870 4.2 million Oregon acres of forest lands were reclaimed for the O&C railroad at $2.50 per acre and taken off the tax rolls inventory. In 1937 the Government signed an agreement with 18 Oregon Counties; in lieu of lost taxation, two million acres were dedicated to timber production to sustain yields producing money, perpetually, to the 18 Counties. For 50 years that supported parks, state and county law enforcement, public safety, libraries etc. You know the rest of the story, environmental law suits, global competition etc. shut down our timber harvesting to a loss of $15.6 million in Josephine Co. and $23 million here in Jackson County per year provided by congress' "safety net fund" that ends June 30, 2007.

In preparation: all libraries will close April 5th; County work force will be reduced from 700 to 350; deep cuts to the sheriff will impact the ability to fight crime. District Attorneys will have no budget to prosecute crime, and juvenile justice systems will be closed. Public health services cut in half and county roads will not be maintained. The County fairgrounds will be close. Etc. Etc.

This is just the start of what is (and will be happening) in Oregon. State Highway patrols will be as scarce as hens teeth, schools, health care etc. throughout the state will all be affected. It is not "just a library" issue. The library just gets the headlines in the news media.

There are 155 National Forests on 192 million acres of land. The Sierra Club, one of 15 environmental groups, have recently filed appeals and are suing to challenge new rules President Bush gave national forest managers discretion to manage logging and allow more commercial projects. Environmentalists are silencing the voices of local citizens and is stopping pro-business plans for probably another two years or more. Give us what is due, keep your agreement to compensate for reclaiming our forests, or give us back our land to be taxed, managed and worked as our major commercial "crop". God bless America and God help Oregon! Rosalyn

A personal brief: Rosalyn Rhinehart has lived in Medford, Oregon for forty-four years. She volunteered on many City and Community committees for thirty-eight years before retiring to author several books. Councilman Bob Strosser said: "It is overwhelming her commitment, care and concern for this community. I'm sad to see her leave!" She truly wanted to see a better Medford.



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