Here’s the link and below is an excerpt. I thought it was interesting how they grappled with the issue of being local..
Sounding exasperated, Harney County Judge Steve Grasty warned the mostly Grant County audience: “If we don’t get this one right, you are going to see what Burns looks like.”
He noted the loss of industry there.
“We have nothing. You couldn’t identify five jobs outside of the federal payroll that come from the Malheur National Forest,” he said.
He also protested the lack of attention to Harney County’s concerns.
“You would not have met in Harney County if I hadn’t called,” he told Raaf. “This is wrong, to make Harney County the weak sister in every conversation we have.”
He urged the Forest Service to keep the percentage of timber low in the stewardship program, noting that the counties rely on the regular timber program for what little revenue it provides, and to open up the pool of contractors qualified to bid.
Britton was concerned about the idea of a “single winner,” and also suggested giving the contract to a nonprofit which would then then split up the work among the local timber and mill operators.
Forest Service officials said that could be considered if there was broad support for the idea, but there are questions about how the scenario would play out. The bid evaluation process pegs past performance, along with community benefits, among key criteria.
Britton’s suggestion drew opposition from industry representatives.
Russ Young of Iron Triangle said a nonprofit would just add another layer of bureacracy and also take its own profits from the top to fund its own organization. There are no “non-profit nonprofits,” he said. There are always winners and losers in business, Young said, but if an industry bidder loses to a nonprofit, “we all lose.”
Shelk also objected to the nonprofit idea, and said parceling out the work to multiple companies would further dilute the sawlog volume. He said the one-winner concept will still mean a “net win” to the communities, in terms of employment.