Oregon's timber counties still seeking help

Dec 20, 2011

Oregon's timber dependent counties are still hoping for a federal rescue. But they're creating contingency plans in case Congress doesn't come through with a replacement for historic timber revenue.

Officials from eight counties met with Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber Monday to discuss their options. Some counties say they could become insolvent in the next year without additional funding.

In Douglas County, Commissioner Doug Robertson says local agencies have shed 230 positions over the past three years.

"Public safety, public works, health and social services, veterans' services," he says. "They're all impacted."

The counties are strapped for cash because they came to rely on federal funding that was linked to timber harvests. In some counties, the federal government owns more than half of the land in a county. That limits their ability to collect property taxes to fund government operations.