Subscribe Archives Calendar ContactLogging & Sawmilling JournalMadison's Lumber DirectoryAdvertise Media KitHomeForestnet

 
Untitled Document

TimberWest November/December 2013

Nov/December 2014

ON THE COVER
A Lone Wolf in the Woods
Photo by Lindsay R. Mohlere captures Lone Rock Logging, working their Pierce DeLimbinator

Leader in Stewardship and Maximum Production
It’s Lone Rock Logging’s proactive commitment that has won them so many awards, including the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Southwest 2013 Operator of the year.

A Lone Wolf in the Woods
Fred Warth Contracting prides itself on taking on the small jobs that others walk away from.

Making Wood Waste Valuable
Rawlings Manufacturing sets up a new test facility at its Spokane manufacturing center to focus all aspects of wood waste processing.

Productivity and Safety
Go Hand in Hand

Sevier Logging based out of Olympia, Wash., focuses on high production and safe practices.

A Cat Tradition
Lind Logging out of B.C. isn’t afraid to try something new, especially if it’s technology being developed by Cat.

The Show
America Logger Council annual meeting review.

DEPARTMENTS

In the News

Association News

Machinery Row

New Products

Guest Column

 

 

 CLICK to download a pdf of this article

Ashley HelenbergLogging in High Heels

Ashley Helenberg, External Affairs Manager, Port of Longview

I don’t know how you loggers do it. Before most college kids have gone to bed, you get up for work to head out into the cold, dark, wet weather. All you have to eat for the day is whatever you packed or picked up at the mini-mart on your way to meet the crew bus. If you’re lucky to get home at a decent hour, you grab a quick bite of dinner before heading out to the shop to grind chains or ready your truck for the next day. You go, go, go all day long, and if you do manage to rest, every joint in your body cracks as you wrestle your way out of your recliner—that is, if you haven’t fallen asleep in it.

It’s tough, dangerous work. But you love what you do, and you wouldn’t trade it for the world. I know… because this is my family. They are the hardest working people I know.

My uncles own logging companies and trucks. My grandfather retired from Weyerhaeuser to build GML Trucking from the ground up, and you can’t keep my brother out of the woods. It’s what they were born to do. It’s in their blood.

When I came home from college in the summers, I lived with my brother in Castle Rock. I ruined countless outfits in the dirt-and-grease-filled washing machine he had gummed up with his work clothes. He would leave for work without turning off his alarm clock, so I would stumble around cursing his name at 3:00 a.m. to turn it off. I watched him collapse on the couch after a day’s work in the woods, sleeping while his friends went out for the evening.

Like most teenage girls from a small town, I planned to run away to the big city and never look back. After graduating from Kelso High School, I earned my Communication degree at the University of Washington with a minor in Political Science. I stayed in Seattle after college, but the long hours in traffic and lack of familiar faces soon wore on me. I found myself missing things like hickory shirts, the smell of diesel, and freshly cut trees. It was time to come home.

I Get It, and I Want to Protect It.

I returned with a new appreciation for my community. It’s unlikely that I’ll take over the family trucking business, but I have found a different way to honor my logging roots.

In 2008, I joined the Port of Longview—one of the Pacific Northwest’s premier log exporting gateways. My public relations job at the Port brought the big picture into focus, and I could finally see the connection between the Castle Rock timber cutters and the new construction happening in Asia.

Since joining the Port, I’ve moved up the ranks to Director of External Affairs. On my visits with elected leaders in the Washington State Legislature and Washington, D.C., I bring up my logging family background to help illustrate the importance of strong infrastructure such as roadways, highways, and bridges.

I tell our government representatives that the more efficient and reliable we can make our infrastructure, the more successful Pacific Northwest timber will be in the domestic and international marketplace. That’s because the faster we can transport cargo, the more affordable it will be to customers. The higher the demand for logs, the more loads will be delivered to the Port. That equals more days in the woods for my brother and uncles (not to mention more work for those connected to the Port).

Their paychecks buy homes and pay property taxes. Those taxes support cities’ police and fire departments, schools, road maintenance, and other services. Loggers go out to dinner, buy new tires, and shop locally, supporting many jobs beyond the ports, beyond the woods.

For communities like Cowlitz County, freight corridors are lifelines to economic prosperity. That’s why when I’m advocating for transportation projects, I don’t talk about “jobs.” I talk about my uncles, my grandfather, my brother. I talk about what I know—the hardworking people who miss evenings with their kids or skip vacations so they can provide for their families.

For a recent project, I’ve spent time with some great local logging companies, rigging their employees and equipment with Go-Pro cameras to capture images of a hard day’s work. These visuals are far more compelling when asking lawmakers for road funding than simply saying the projects “create jobs.” Now, government officials and community members who have never set foot on a logging site can see for themselves the reason all these transportation projects are vital to communities like ours. I want our leaders to be as passionate about protecting loggers’ livelihoods as I am, and that means seeing how all the pieces fit together.

Even though I may be wearing high heels instead of caulk (“cork”) boots, I’m doing my part to make that happen.

Ashley Helenberg is the External Affairs Manager at Port of Longview, Wash., and can been reached at ahelenberg@portoflongview.com or (360) 425-3305.