Sen. Wyden Pitches O&C Plan

, Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Fri, May 24 2013 at 4:24 PM, Updated: Fri, May 24 2013 at 4:33 PM

A plan to resume logging on nearly a million acres of Oregon forest is unveiled by Senator Ron Wyden...the plan is targeted at restoring jobs and funding to cash-strapped Oregon counties.

Senator Wyden hinted at the plan during a recent visit to Klamath Falls...

"They'll be able to have more jobs in rural areas, get the harvest up, protect our treasures, then we'll have a permanent solution."

While still in the framework stage, Wyden's plan would allow for timber harvesting on about half of Oregon 2.4 million acres of 'O&C' land...while setting the other half aside for permanent conservation.

Klamath County Commissioner Tom Mallams is cautiously optimistic...

"Hard choice - I represent all of Klamath County, and I would probably have to say 'yes', if there wasn't any option to modify it, or whatever.  For us to survive, we need something."

The concept isn't new.

Congressman Greg Walden announced his effort on a similar plan during a Klamath Falls visit in August of 2011...

"I think it really speaks to an America that we have to get back to - using our basic resources again, putting our people back to work in this country again, and we've got the resources to do it - we just need to change the law to be able to get there."

Wyden is expected to fine-tune his plan over the next few months, and introduce formal legislation in late summer.

The biggest difference in the two plans is that Wyden's would keep the land under federal management.  Walden's plan would place the harvest lands in a trust under state control.

What do you think? Sound off on our Facebook page and on Twitter, or leave a comment below.

About the Author

Lyle Ahrens

KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's.  He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.

Lyle's job history is quite colorful.  He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand.  A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer.  In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.

Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.  "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain.  Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".

When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.

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