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In the News
Gustafson & Brink Recognized
Gustafson Logging Company may be known to many across the country as the one on AxMen, but to the community, the company is known for its top work. Outstanding work promoting stream health earned owner Mark Gustafson the 2009 Northwest Oregon Operator of the Year award from the state Board of Forestry.
The stream health required Gustafson Logging to do something they had never done before -- adapt a skyline carriage system to “dead lift” 55 large trees from the slope above Rock Creek and move them through a stand of alder and into the streambed.
“We’ve never done anything like lowering a tree through standing timber and getting it to lay at the angle that fisheries and wildlife recommended. But the crew got the hang of it quite quickly, and by the end of things, it went real smooth,” said Gustafson.
The Operator of the Year Award for Southern Oregon went to David Brink Logging of Roseburg, for the planning and community involvement work that went into a timber harvest within the city limits of Sutherlin in 2009.
Brink held community meetings to discuss the harvest operation. He also designed a harvest plan to lessen the impacts on residents’ daily lives.
Government Gives Housing Market a Hand
The government has decided to give unlimited support to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and it may result in assistance to a struggling U.S. housing market.
Bose George, an analyst at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, wrote to investors that the government may put a mortgage-modification effort, called the Home Affordable Modification Program into overdrive in coming years, pushing for reductions in the principal outstanding on home loans overseen by Fannie and Freddie.
MarketWatch reported that the U.S. Treasury Department lifted the $200 billion caps on the amount of taxpayer money that can be pumped into the mortgage giants over the next three years.
Although these steps won’t have an effect on foreclosures, they could boost sales and building.
Global Sawlog Prices Jump
Finally, prices are moving upward when it comes to global sawlogs. After hitting bottom earlier in 2009, prices started back up in the fall. The upswing was the result of a tighter log supply but was also due to improved operating rates at many sawmills in both the U.S. and Europe.
The Global Sawlog Price Index (GSPI), which is based on conifer sawlog prices in 19 key regions worldwide, was U.S. $73.30/m3 in the 3Q, up 7.6% from the previous quarter, as reported by the Wood Resource Quarterly. Despite the recent upswing, it is still 15% lower than a year ago and 20.3% below the all-time-high in the 4Q/07.
Grant Dollars at Work in Oregon
The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) was recently awarded a $2.2 million American Recovery and Reinvest-ment Act grant.
ODF will use the funds to put loggers back to work doing non-commercial thinning operations on more than 3,000 acres of private forestland in ODF’s Northeast Oregon District. The grant is expected to create 40 to 50 jobs.
“These Recovery Act funds are a welcome relief for an area of the state hit hard by these economic times,” said Gov. Kulongoski. “With these funds, Oregonians will be able to get back to work, and the health of our forests will be improved.”
Bonner County Recovery
It is forecasted that the eastern Bonner County, Idaho, economy will rebound soon, especially in the greater Sandpoint area, led by a manufacturing sector, as well as the tourism sector.
The west side of Bonner County, however, was hit harder with mill closures, and the number of unemployed is estimated at over 20 percent, says Kathryn Tacke, regional economist for the Idaho Department of Labor.Recovery there will definitely take longer.
“I know there are a lot of people suffering over there, and that suffering, unfortunately, is likely going to last a couple more years at least,” she said, adding, “There’s good reason to believe we’ve hit bottom in the country. Every industry will see improvement later this year, maybe not as much as we would like, but things will improve.
Life Lost at Roseburg Mill
Holger Fussel, age 39, was killed in an accident at a Roseburg lumber mill in December. He was fatally injured when he was trapped beneath a lumber stacker at Douglas County Forest Products.
Co-workers administered CPR and first aid until emergency responders arrived. Fussel was taken to Mercy Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The accident is still being investigated and is a sobering reminder of the importance of safety.
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