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The New Era Paper
Sweet Home, Oregon
December 12, 2012     The New Era Paper
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December 12, 2012

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Page 4 lle - December 12, 2012 From Our Files Looking back on more than 80 years of coverage in east Linn County... Months of dedication and hard work paid off over the weekend with the captivating performances of the Singing Christmas Tree. Some 60 voices united to offer three perfor- mances. Tears of joy and jubilation flowed freely Saturday at Parker Sta- dium in Corvallis, both on the play- ing field, and among the huge crowd of Husky loyalists, as Sweet Home December 13, 1962 dominated Ontario 35-0 to win the The Sweet Home Jaycees, along 1987 OSAA Class AA football state with employees of the city street de- championships in front of 4,159 partment, last Saturday completed fans. the task of decorating 'M' and 'L' . streets for the Christmas season. The long-awaited 10-year Wil- lamette National Forest Plan was re- Rulings restricting the partici- leased Monday and includes a drop pation of married students in extra- of about 7 percent in allowable tim- curricular activities were adopted by ber harvest compared to the current the Sweet Home Union High School plan. board. Key issues considered by the planners were timber supply, wild- December 9, 1987 life habi~t, roadless lands and old A Sweet Home retirement home growth timber stands. Representa- is being discussed. The proposed tives of the timber industry had pre- complex would include 40 to 50 one- pared for announcement of up to 25 and two-bedroom units from 600 to percent reductions in allowable har- 750 square feet. vest. The northern spotted owl, to be blunt, is not a popular resident in east Linn County, reasons not all its fault. The fluffy fowl, which weighs about a pound, has become the face of environmentalists' campaign to shut down, or greatly reduce, log- ging in the Willame.tte National Forest and lots of other federal for- estland across the West. We're not telling anyone any- thing they didn't already know. But the spotted owl has hit the headlines again with the quiet designation of 9.3 million more acres of federal timberland that is being designated as "critical habitat" for the federally protected bird, as we reported in last week's issue. That includes much of the Willamette National Forest and the Sweet Home Ranger District. In news reports, environmen- talists have expressed concerns about the "broad license" the new rule gives to on-the-ground marg agement. That, precisely, is what is good about the plan. When forest administrators say they're realizing that simply shut- ting down logging in federal forests isn't going to work any more, we say that sounds like a much more even-handed approach than the phi- losophy that has been driving forest management for the past 20 years. At tqae risk of stating the ob- vious, the problem for the spotted owl is that human efforts to pre- serve it have not only damaged a lot of human lives, including many here in east Linn County, but they haven't really worked. The origi- nal court decrees and preservation plans that maintained the near-ces- A locally owned newspaper founded Sept. 27, 1929 Scott and Miriam Swanson, Co-Publishers nNW.sweethomenews.com Office: 1313 MainSt., Sweet Home, Oregon Mailing address: The New Era,. Box 39, Sweet Home, OR, 97386 Phone: (541) 367-2135 Fax: (541) 367-2137 WHO WE ARE Scott Swanson, Editor/Co-Publisher scott@sweethomenews.com Sean C. Morgan, Staff Writer sean@sweethomenews.com Miriam Swanson, Advertising Manager, Co-Publisher miriam@sweethomenews.com Christy Keeney, Classified Ads classifieds@sweethomenews.com Firiel Severns, Advertising Sales firiel@sweethomenews.com The New Era (USPS 379-100)is published each Wednesday. Periodical postage paid at the Sweet Home, Ore., 97386 Post Office. Postmaster: Please send address changes to The New Era. Box 39. Sweet Home. Oregon 97386 SUBSCRIPTIONS In rinn County: $32 Elsewhere: $40 Snowbird: $38 NEWS QUESTIONS/TIPS Call (541] 367.2135 or e-mail news@sweethomenews.com sation of-commercial forest uses, particularly timber harvest, in the local ranger district were based on scientific "evidence" trotted out by opponents to logging, that was ru- dimentary at best. Key agpects of that evidentiary framework, such as the owls' true range and habits, and how the spe- cies is impacted by factors other than old-growth forest logging, are subject to honest challenge but in the legal momentum and gen- eral emotionalism of the time, it is questionable whether the policies developed by the government to protect the owl were based on very "substantive scientific knowledge. While this was becoming in- creasingly evident over time, hard- working, industrious communities such as Sweet Home experienced massive job losses and social up- heaval 'thanks to knee-jerk reac- tions by the courts and government agencies that were bound to follow judicial and executive dictat'es, which is exactly what opponents to logging wanted when they went to court. More recently, the encroach- ment of the larger barred owl on the spotted owl's territory is one of the threats that has become evident and for which few have answers. The aren't backing off in their fight to spotted owl numbers, the U.S. Fish return the forests to some level of and Wildlife Service says, have de- the state they were in before all clined 40 percent in 25 years. To of us arrived. In late November a combat the barred owl threat, the court order suspended timber sales latest plan, announced last spring, on more than 1,600 acres in three was to shoot the rival birds, older coastal state forests due to So here we are in Sweet Home, concerns over marbled murrelet sitting next to a national forest that habitat. On Dec. 3 the U.S. Su- is overgrown and increasingly preme Court heard a case originat- looks like a giant catastrophe wait- ing when a small environmental ing to happen the first time we have group in Portland sued the Oregon a long, dry summer with lightning Department of Forestry over log- strikes or careless humans, ging roads that drain muddy water The very fact that forest un- into salmon streams. dergrowth has not been reduced by Having said that, balance is fire - or blades- in two or more de- key. None of us want to see salm- cades makes us wonder if that could on populations decimated and we be a contributing factor tothe spot- aren't eager to see the marbled ted owls' continued demise. After murrelet wiped out - or the spot- all, their favorite prey is wood rats ted owl, for that matter. The owl is and if the forest is thick with under- simply a symbol in battles between growth, that must give the rats an humans with vastly different per- advantage, spectives on the utilization of forest We appreciate the fact that resources. lawmakers and local forestry offi- But we do believe that our cials are cognizant that something public policy in the area of forest needs to be done. management has not hit the "sweet What needs to happen is what . spot," as one forest administrator is being proposed. The government put it, of protecting wildlife and needs to stick to its guns and fight forest resources while allowing re- for truly healthy forests that can sponsible use of the latter. The very still be hiked in and camped in and fact that wildlife biologists and lo- otherwise enjoyed by mostly week- cal hunters maintain there are more end visitors, on whom the impacts game animals on private land than of fire and loss of employment and in the overgrown national forest other economic hardships are sire- tells us these efforts on behalf of ply footnotes, the spotted owl aren'I helping other Environmental extremists species. It's a tricky balance. WRITE A LETTER We encourage readers to express their opinions letters to the editor on matters of public interest. Letters should be typed and may be submitted by mail, e-mail, fax or in person at The New Era office. E-mailed letters may be sent to news@sweethomenews.com. Please include a telephone number in case we need to contact you. Also, we require that you include your name and city of residence or your letter will not be published. There is no length restriction, but letters may be edited for length and all letters will be edited for libelous content. We discourage letters that attack or complain about private citizens or businesses on a personal level. Also, letters containing comments on topics deemed by the editorial staff to have been exhausted in previo Js letters will be edited accordingly. Few in our community would argue that the pendulum of sanity is in a neutral position right now. but the excesses of hands-off man- agement are beginning to take their toll and that momentum may shift somewhat, particularly if the vot- ing masses who don't live near the forests, and their legislators and judges, become more aware of the problems caused by "environmen- talists" who are pushing policies we believe are detrimental to forest stewardship. We hope they wake up before it's too late.