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Old 09-03-2002, 08:55 PM   #1
Get Bent
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Default Okay then, how would YOU fix this mess?

Currently Oregon is in a financial crisis. Tax collections are lower than expected and Salem doesn't want to upset the apple cart during an election year. If our representatives elect to do nothing, then there are cuts across the board that will wipe out four hatcheries, fire countless state troopers, shave additional days off of what is already the shortest school year in the nation, plus many other various cuts.

Obviously we all don't know the intricacies of the issue, but let's just kick stuff around awhile. How would YOU fix this problem, and how would you sell it to the citizens of the State of Oregon?

Seems like everyone wants to save the hatcheries at all costs, which I guess is to be expected in a fishing forum. Let's open this up a bit though. How would you fix this whole issue?

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Old 09-04-2002, 06:13 AM   #2
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Default Re: Okay then, how would YOU fix this mess?

Cut the dead wood at the top.
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Old 09-04-2002, 06:38 AM   #3
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Default Re: Okay then, how would YOU fix this mess?

Keta - The problem is that ODFW is already running fairly lean & mean. Much deadwood was cut & positions left open over the last 3 budget cycles. A lot of the guys in HQ wear two, three or more hats. Another thing to remember is the ODFW budget is approved by the legislature and ODFW isn't allowed to make significant deviations - can't unplug funding from Program A and insert into Program B as easy as people think they can.
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Old 09-04-2002, 06:57 AM   #4
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Default Re: Okay then, how would YOU fix this mess?

Gutshot,
Not just the ODF&G but every department has its share of paperwork creating and shuffling bureaucrats. When I worked for ADOT&PF I had 6 bosses and 3 people working for me. When they cut back I still had 6 bosses and no one to do the work. The money was still spent but my facilities were rusting and falling apart.

[ 09-04-2002, 07:58 AM: Message edited by: Keta ]
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Old 09-04-2002, 07:55 AM   #5
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Default Re: Okay then, how would YOU fix this mess?

I agree, CUT THE DEAD WOOD! Not just from one dept, but from the whole state government! There are far to many chiefs in that reservation and more depts doing nothing but collecting a paycheck from us... Just like any private/public business, you have to learn to be efficient in order to stay open, the "public" demands it.. or they close you down! so, why not let the "government" in on the secret? TELL them "they" WILL cut back, or "THEY" will be out of a job! Everyone needs to get serious and quit complaining without a strong follow-up! The waste of our tax dollars begins at the bottom, towns-cities, counties, state, and goes right to the top! Sort of like the golden fleece that the Senators and Congressman have.... The "government will tell you they are cutting "your" services in order to make you bend to their way of thinking! DON'T DO IT, TELL THEM NO! If they don't listen, GET RID OF THEM! and start with that tax happy governor you have! If we all stand together, we'll win.... and another little item that irks me is, the news... where did these people come from and whose payroll are they on? Talk about a one-sided story, seems they only know the Taxman's story.. what the heck happened to our side? I've tried to get letters in the paper, ha.... censored!
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Old 09-05-2002, 01:00 PM   #6
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Default Re: Okay then, how would YOU fix this mess?

1. Hiring freeze now. There are hundreds of state jobs open for people to go to work for the government. If the work is getting done now, there is no need for these new employees.

2. Any new hiring at the state level has to be justified and approved by the legislature. Any new position would also have to show an adequate long-term funding stream to support that position.

3. Establish stable funding for schools, police and other prioritized departments. Additional programs would be on an available funding.

4. Invest for the future. Set up a rainy day fund during the booming economy instead of spending it all. If state economists were smart they could even make some money investing this fund.

5. Ebolish the property tax and institute a state-wide sales tax. That way people who visit from out of state help ease the tax burden.

6. Establish a constitutional admendment to fund schools at $4,500 per student plus a inflation increase each year. That way schools would have stable funding and the politicians couldn't touch it.

7. Increase fees for special "quality of life" programs such as ODFW, state parks and even the state fair.

Those are just off the top of my head. Of course, they would never fly because of the politics that are played down in Salem...but we can dream.

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Old 09-05-2002, 01:49 PM   #7
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Default Re: Okay then, how would YOU fix this mess?

That sales tax idea needs to get in. Then everyone will have to pay the taxes. All the deadbeats, low lifes and even the druggies will pay when they buy anything. The out of staters will get it too. Washington has it and they don't seem to have school problems or problems with state police or hatcheries. We need to get smart and collect from all the people not just the workers.
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Old 09-07-2002, 08:47 PM   #8
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Default Re: Okay then, how would YOU fix this mess?

It is interesting to me, as a business owner, the difference that he points out between the private and publlic sector. When I had to make very painful decisions about downsizing my company, it was not done with a mentality of "cut everything X %".

Rather, a prudent business owner looks at what makes the most sense to meet a reduced budget and makes the cuts there. All departments share the burden equally? Just doesn't make sense.

But what bothers me most is the fact that we Oregonians as a whole are reducing our incomes even if we are working. I had to freeze the salaries of everyone who works for me and I personally took a much larger cut. Yet inflation, though modest, continues. So he is right, spending power is reduced. State unemployment is at almost 8%. Where are the cuts of non-essential and even portions of essential state programs?

Instead we get brilliant political grandstand directives like "cut the budget uniformly" .

I am a third generation native Oregonian, and have never supported a sales tax. I still can't because I see no way to implement one without the other taxes (income and property) being kept. But it is the answer, if only we could get the reduction or elimination of the others.

Think about it. Income tax, in tough times, reduces the state budget severely, just as we are seeing now. Since the budget is necessarily bi-annual because it is so large, an economic downturn after a big upturn like we just came through inherently causes bloating of the budget. What happens when the hatcheries close then the economy improves faster than projected? The damage is done. The fry are dead or don't exist anymore.

A sales tax treats everyone equally and captures revenue from tourists. Last time I checked we were a big tourist state. Budgets become much more predictable with less fluctuation than an income tax based budget. About 48 other states do it, are we really so much smarter than they? We don't look so smart now...

So how do we force the legislature to trade, not supplement sales for income/reduction in proptery taxes???
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Old 09-07-2002, 08:50 PM   #9
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Default Re: Okay then, how would YOU fix this mess?

And by the the way, The Rogue, we already have a huge property tax burden in this state. What happens when people lose jobs and can't pay their property taxes?
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Old 09-07-2002, 10:00 PM   #10
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Default Re: Okay then, how would YOU fix this mess?

TheRogue is right to hope we get something out of our public forests besides lawsuits :depressed: . The state forestry dept. manages close to 800,000 acres of prime state-owned timberland which is producing far below its potential. This land could produce sustainable income - up to $100 million a year at current values - without jeopardizing natural resource values. More millions of $$$ from USFS and BLM timber harvest revenue used to be split with the counties for road & schools. No more. Now counties get glorified welfare payments from Washington DC (redistributed tax dollars) amounting to a fraction of what we could be receiving from managing just half of the federal forests for timber production.

The environmentalists [img]graemlins/berry.gif[/img] have done a real job on Oregon's resource-based economy and on American public opinion over the last two or three decades. People now equate logging with destruction and no amount of reasoning or proof to the contrary seems to make an impression. Many people now think it is better to let our forests burn than to make use of them. :whazzup:

With reasonable safeguards, modern forest management is compatible with fish & wildlife production, tourism, water production, wilderness protection, etc . Yet, here in Oregon, we have voluntarily given up use of a unique economic asset unmatched elsewhere - highly productive public forest soils supporting the world's most valuable tree species. People don't appreciate just how good our forest lands are. The worst forest soils in western Oregon are better than the best forest soils in most other forested regions i.e. Maine, Rocky Mtn.states, Sweden, etc. with thriving forest-based industries. People in the US timber industry in other regions think we here in Oregon are NUTS!!! [img]graemlins/1zhelp.gif[/img]
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Old 09-07-2002, 11:55 PM   #11
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Default Re: Okay then, how would YOU fix this mess?

Washington also has a significant timber base owned by the State that is actively managed for $$$ as well as wildlife and recreation .....maybe in the next 20 years we can get something out of the Tillamook forest besides environmental lawsuits.

BTW....many sales tax states are hurting right now, I believe there are a few back east that are pushing around property and income tax proposals. If there's no jobs, there's no income tax. There's also no income to buy things, which means no sales tax revenues.

The ONLY stable source of tax revenue is property taxes, PERIOD. Unfortunately, many listened to the Sizemore craze, and voted away that tie the schools had to that stable revenue source, and put it in the hands of the Legislature.
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Old 09-08-2002, 09:05 AM   #12
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Default Re: Okay then, how would YOU fix this mess?

Gutshot,

You say:

"People now equate logging with destruction and no amount of reasoning or proof to the contrary seems to make an impression."

Two things.... 1) past behavior by the timber industry made this the prevelant mindset of many Oregoniains.

2) A drive just up I-5 from Grants Pass to Eugene observing what is and what has taken place in our forestlands makes that mindset legitimate and impossible to change.

Yes, responsible logging can and does take place however, a whole lot of irrepsonsible logging is also still taking place.

Once an industry doo doo's in it's nest and allows a few of it's members to continue to doo-doo in it nest, it is nearly impossible to get people to believe they will do it right this time.

I too hope we can start getting more production out of our forestlands but only if we get it right this time.

[ 09-08-2002, 10:08 AM: Message edited by: Straydog ]
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Old 09-08-2002, 05:21 PM   #13
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Default Re: Okay then, how would YOU fix this mess?

Straydog - There is a distinct change in forest types along a line from the middle fk. Coquille River over to Canyonville. South of this line the Siskiyou soils and forest types are remarkably different than the true "Douglas-fir Region" to the north (extends up thru SW Wash. below 5,000' west of the Cascades). The Siskiyou zone soils are more erosive and it takes longer for clearcuts to regenerate. Good for deer & elk, mediocre for forestry. But still viable commercial forest land except on serpentine [img]graemlins/1zhelp.gif[/img] soils.

If you go by some fresh logging daily then stop if you can this winter when its raining good & hard and see if there is or has been any visible erosion. If logged carefully, most slopes don't usually experience much erosion, even in the Azalea-Glendale area. May not win any beauty contests for a few years, but that's the major price we pay for the benefits of logging. Most erosion is road-related and the new Forest Pract. Act rules are effectively enforced - at least in my experience. Sure, there are a few failures of the system but the vast majority of operations are within the letter and intent of the law.

The clearcut max. size is 120 acres with about a 5 year greenup requirement before cutting adjacent. This applies to the same ownership so if your 3/4 by 1/4 mile clearcut butts up against Weyco's 3/4 by 1/4 mile clearcut, you can get a whopper . But each landowner has to leave a certain number of trees uncut per acre (can be bunched up), can't cut around osprey, eagle, murrelet, sp.owl nests, heron rookeries, within 100' to 200' of fish bearing waters, on extremely steep slopes, etc, etc.

Watch that same clearcut recover over a period of years. When I first moved to the lower Umpqua back in the early 70s there was an assortment of highly visible fresh clearcuts near the major highways. Now, those unsightly clearcuts are advanced sapling/second growth sawtimber stands that anyone would say look pretty darn good. There is a new array of clearcuts in varying stages of recovery in the area now but the overall view is about the same. Except for striped bass, which may be making a slow comeback, the fishing now is as good or better than it was back then.

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Old 09-08-2002, 11:13 PM   #14
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Default Re: Okay then, how would YOU fix this mess?

Straydog - You're right, people don't like to see logging. But, there's good logging and bad logging and most people can't make the distinction. I used to attend forest industry powwows representing my employer and soon wore out my welcome with the "timber barons" by saying we needed to work on PR a lot more. Their attitude (1970s) was "**** 'em. We're the economic powerhouse in Oregon and we call the shots".

Well, things have changed.

But I think back to what Oregon looked like 30 years ago - lots of clearcuts interspersed with oldgrowth and 2nd growth stands. Today the view is similar although the average tree age is younger, the scenery still looks about the same. :smile:

What has changed is no more cutting to the river, lake or major highway's edge. No more dragging logs up & down creeks. No more unrestrained cable yarding thru the stream buffers. No more gouging catroads across steep headwalls. No more unrestricted clearcut sizes. No more cut each & every stick in a harvest unit. No more **** & run - now reforestation is required, road maintenence is part of the deal and many, many miles of logging roads have been "put to bed".

Things are different in the working woods. But, you are correct in that many people formed impressions that are difficult to change. It just bothers me to see Oregon in financial difficulties yet the solution is within reach, we have the means to solve the problem, if the people could only see it as I do.

No, I don't want to log it all. I'd settle for 50% of state and federal forests to be set aside for whatever purpose and the other 50% put to good use benefitting Oregonians thru proper forest management & stewardship. Right now about 85-90% of most public forests are in some form of protective status and the remainder is infested with tree sitters & spikers.

The End.

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Old 09-08-2002, 11:53 PM   #15
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Default Re: Okay then, how would YOU fix this mess?

Gutshot,

Regardless of what our posts may look like, I dont think you and I are that far apart.

I guess I am more tainted than some because I travel I-5 daily and have watched what is going on on private land, fully visable from the freeway.

Take a look around Azalea and Glendale next time you travel this way and tell me they are not taking every stick of timber off those units.
Tell me those almost vertical hills totally denuded of vegetation will not put sediments in Cow Creek, a stream closed to fishing due to the ESA. Tell me it is right to shut off all fishing and allow this to take place.

Yea, one guy just got a $10,000 fine for illegal practices.... cost of doing business for him and we will suffer for it for anywhere from 20 to 50 years. Oh well, by golly he got fined!

Sorry, I do agree with you in theory but the reality is I still see way to much wrong being done and that is just from I-5.

[ 09-08-2002, 12:55 PM: Message edited by: Straydog ]
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