Sen. Ron Wyden Predicts Tough Times if Timber Payments Aren't Extended

, Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Tue, April 10 2012 at 6:31 PM, Updated: Tue, April 10 2012 at 6:58 PM

At Tuesday's Town Hall Meeting with Senator Ron Wyden, many issues were on the table. But dried up federal timber funds paying counties not to cut down trees were at the top of the list.

"I think we're going to lose Oregon communities in parts of this state. In rural communities we're going to see school three days a week. It's just that serious," said Senator Wyden.

According to the Senator, it could happen if Washington doesn't act quick.

"The first and foremost thing that has to happen is the House of Representatives has to pass the Senate transportation bill."

That piece of legislation would extend federal timber payments for one year. Iif passed, Senator Wyden said Oregon would get $102-million.

"What I want to see this year, get that timber payments legislation done, that's a lifeline," said Wyden.

Other issues brought up at the town hall meeting included partisanship and taxes.

"Seems to me we're a long way from any cooperative efforts," said Jackson County resident Bill McDonald.

"It seems to us that those making millions should pay their fair share," began Beverly Deleonardis of Central Point.

She continued, "We would like to know if you'd support the Buffet Rule."

Senator Wyden responded, saying he would vote for it.

The senator said his three goals are to extend timber payments, get people back to work in the woods thinning forests and pass an agriculture bill allowing Oregon produce into schools.

Residents also expressed concern about exporting natural gas. Senator Wyden reassured the audience saying he agreed and would not rush into any decisions.

About the Author

Christine Pitawanich

Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.

Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.

Catch Christine anchoring weekdays on NBC 5 News at 5pm.

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