COOS BAY — As logging in state forests comes to a standstill, the local state forestry office is feeling the crunch.
According to Oregon Department of Forestry spokesman Rod Nichols, the state anticipated the need to cut seven positions at its Coos District Office.
Nichols said the reductions are coming from 23 positions that handle the Elliott State Forest Management plan. Harvest yield for the 2013-2014 fiscal year was initially anticipated at 40 million board feet, but ODF has reduced those expectations to 15 million board feet.
Logging at 11 timber sales in state forests, including the Elliott, is currently suspended under an injunction handed down by a federal judge in November.
All 11 sales are in identified marbled murrelet habitat, a threatened seabird whose nesting grounds have become a focal point in the policy fight over the Pacific Northwest’s coastal forests.
The Elliott was Oregon’s first state forest, and helps generate education funding through timber sales that feed the state’s Common School Fund.
Spokesman Dan Postrel said the state plans to have the job cuts in effect by July 1. Postrel said ODF is trying to find alternative placement for affected employees elsewhere in the department.
Reporter Thomas Moriarty can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 240, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @ThomasDMoriarty.