Stahl Runs for Board of Commissioners Using Forest Compromise Experience

We’ve probably all wondered whether our carefully developed peace-seeking skills could be better used to benefit the world outside of natural resource-related discussions. I think it’s great that Andy is pursuing this.

Here’s the link.

Stahl said that’s given him experience where it counts, which is in working with people with sharply divergent views and getting them to agree to compromise solutions.

Stahl said that’s a skill that appears to be lacking on the current county board, where conservatives hold a 3-2 majority. It’s a split that at times seems to produce enough sparks to melt iron.

Reducing that discord is where Stahl is hanging his political hat.

Getting elected wouldn’t change that split, but Stahl said his experience trying to broker solutions among environmental enemies would help him end what is sometimes seen as the acrimonious standoff between the board’s conservative and liberal members.

“What you learn by being a representative for people of different interests is that there’s actually a lot of commonality of interest,” he said. “We all care about this place we call Lane County. We all care about jobs.

“I don’t think that the polarization that has infected Washington, D.C., needs to infect us.”

Stahl said that proof that he can broker workable compromises comes in a draft proposal being pushed in Congress by Democratic Rep. Peter DeFazio, who wants to introduce a bill based on Stahl’s idea to open up logging on second-growth forests on what are known as Western Oregon’s O&C timber lands, forests owned and managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

Under the plan, land with old growth trees and in key watersheds would be protected.

The idea is to open up land that’s suited for timber harvest, with counties receiving a portion of the logging sales, thereby boosting a key revenue source for counties while permanently protecting remaining old growth and other environmentally sensitive terrain.

The idea has opponents on both sides — and even Stahl said DeFazio’s version needs important changes.

But Stahl said it shows he can bring adversaries to the table, noting that it has brought together the liberal DeFazio and conservative Republican Rep. Greg Walden.

“Before my idea, it was all polarized,” Stahl said. “All of a sudden you have Peter DeFazio talking to Greg Walden for maybe the first time in history on a forest issue.”

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