County to Vote on Rejoining Timber Group

Lane County previously left the Association of O&C Counties in 2019 and stopped paying its $80,000 dues

There is a motion to rejoin the pro-logging Association of O&C Counties on the June 6 Lane County Board of County Commissioners agenda. In 2019 the commission voted to leave the AOCC and stop paying the $80,00 in dues. 

Update: The commissioners voted 3 to 2, with Commissioners Laurie Trieger and Heather Buch against it, to rejoin the AOCC.

The AOCC lobbies for logging on federal lands in western Oregon, and conservation group Oregon Wild pointed out during the 2019 decision-making process to leave the organization that “$100,000 of taxpayer money was allocated in Lane County’s budget to support the AOCC in FY2018 alone.”

Tuesday’s vote would be on whether to rejoin the group, and allocating general funds dollars to do so would be addressed at the next supplemental budget opportunity. 

Chandra LeGue, senior conservation advocate for Oregon Wild points out that between dues and the AOCC’s litigation fund, Lane County has saved $90,000 a year since leaving the organization. “The only reason to join is to give support to a timber lobby association,” she says.

LeGue says that the county gets the funding from logging whether or not it is an AOCC member and that it would be better to move the economy to “more sustainable and diversified directions instead of the old ways.” 

The November 2022 election saw conservative Commissioners David Loveall and Ryan Ceniga join the board. In that election, Loveall received campaign contributions from Weyerhaeuser, members of the Jones (Seneca timber) and Giustina timber families as well as other construction, timber-related people and businesses. Ceniga received $15,000 alone from Sierra Pacific Industries, the California company that purchased Seneca. 

The county commission meets 9 am in Harris Hall and hybrid and takes public comment at the beginning of the meeting. Agendas and information on how to participate in commission meetings can be found here.

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