Oregon logging advocate to retire from county job

ROSEBURG, Ore. — A longtime advocate for increased logging on federal lands that provide subsidies to counties in western Oregon is retiring from public office — but not from the struggle over timber harvests.

Doug Robertson has been a Douglas County commissioner for 33 years. For 20 years, he has led an association of counties that wants to increase logging on the so-called O&C lands in western Oregon, which were a major source of revenue for timber counties until logging cutbacks in the 1990s.

Robertson, 70, told The News-Review newspaper http://bit.ly/1Aqwplx that he is retiring because of his age and the health of his son, who is recovering from complications from a head injury.

“I’m not going to just stay home and tie flies,” said Robertson, an avid salmon and steelhead fisherman on the Umpqua River near his house. “There will be something more active in my future than that.”

The Association of O&C Counties hopes to hire Robertson as a consultant, Columbia County Commissioner Tony Hyde said.

“He’s made it his life’s mission, I think,” Hyde said of the struggle to increase logging on federal lands, where harvests were cut 90 percent to protect fish and wildlife like salmon and the northern spotted owl. “He’s been just an incredible advocate for us. The county should be reeling from the loss.”

Legislation to increase logging on the O&C lands is pending in Congress.

Timber counties have struggled to fill the gap from declining federal logging revenue, as residents have mostly refused to raise taxes.

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