Eighteen western Oregon counties received US$39.6 million in another set of one-time federal payments for lands once owned by the Oregon & California Railroad, according to the Statesman Journal Thursday.
Timber Revenue, Oregon
The release was announced by the Bureau of Land Management, which oversees most of those lands. The Forest Service released US$68 million in payments to 33 Oregon counties earlier this month.
Together the Oregon counties will share $107 million in payments as part of another one-year extension of the Secure Rural Schools Act, which provided a total of US$329 million to 700 counties across the nation this year.
No breakdown by county was available immediately from BLM. Last year, the 18 counties shared US$37.9 million paid out in two installments. Polk County got US$898,016 of that total, and Marion County US$518,109.
Still in Oregon, the state will consider selling the whole Elliott State Forest, where legal battles over logging and protections for threatened species have reduced revenues for schools, said OregonLive April 11.
Jim Paul, assistant director of the Department of State Lands, said Friday the forest has turned from an asset into a liability, costing the Common School fund US$3 million last year. He says the state has a responsibility to see if it can turn that around.
He adds that selling off the whole forest, whether to a timber company or conservation groups, is just one in a spectrum of possibilities that will be examined by department staff in coming months so the State Lands Board can make a decision.
The evaluation was reported Thursday by The News-Review newspaper in Roseburg, where Paul described the action at a meeting.
The Elliott covers about 90,000 acres north of Coos Bay. It includes some of the last older forest in the Coast Range, where most forests are privately owned and heavily logged. As the state has tried to increase harvest levels in recent years to meet local demands for logs and revenue, it has run into difficulties meeting federal requirements to protect habitat for threatened northern spotted owls, marbled murrelets, and coho salmon.