OSPC joins letter to Governor Brown requesting diverse representation for upcoming Board of Forestry appointment

The Oregon Stream Protection Coalition recently joined 28 other organizations in a letter to Governor Brown regarding an upcoming appointment to the Board of Forestry.

Below is the letter:

April 13, 2016

Dear Governor Brown,

We are writing regarding the upcoming appointment to the Oregon Board of Forestry. Together we represent 29 organizations with a wide range of interests – from fishing guides and hikers, to conservationists, birdwatchers and mountain bikers.

As you know, the Board of Forestry plays a critical role on issues that are important to Oregon’s economy, environment, and government services. Because of the importance of the board, it is crucial that the board’s membership reflect the wide range of values that forests provide.

We thus ask that you appoint someone who helps diversify the expertise and background of the board membership. We especially ask that you ensure that the upcoming appointment is not tied to commercial timber interests.

Too often in the past, the board has been over-represented by people who had close ties to the commercial forestry sector. At times a majority have worked directly for or had close ties to businesses that profit directly from timber harvest. While we do not object to some representation of commercial timber interests on the board, we believe it should be less than the three-of-seven members allowed to have a direct conflict of interest under state law.

People from a variety of interests would help to diversify the board, including people with backgrounds in issues like domestic water supplies, recreation, tourism, climate change, the sport or commercial fishing industries, federal forests, or public health (especially related to chemical use). People with experience in social or natural science, or with a history of work in state or federal agencies might also be a good fit.

Even with an appointment of someone outside the timber industry, two of the other members (Mr. Insko and Mr. Rose) will still bring a strong timber-centric perspective, and another (Mr. Christoffersen) is very familiar with the timber economy. Together these current members would provide ample knowledge of commercial timber interests. Broader views are needed.

We understand that it is difficult to find the right combination of experience, perspective, and temperament for appointments on boards and commissions, but we believe there are such candidates available, and we ask you to cast your net beyond the pool of interests now represented on the board.

View the letter, including the full list of signatories.