The Lane County Board of Commissioners voted to end their membership in the Association of O&C Counties, according to a press release from Cascadia Wildlands.
Local environmental groups such as Cascadia Wildlands have long criticized the county’s membership in the logging-oriented AOCC and stepped up the ask to leave the group when the makeup of the commission changed after the November election. Multnomah County left the AOCC after the group got involved in litigation to shrink the size of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in southern Oregon.
In fiscal year 2017-18, Lane County paid $76,995 in dues to AOCC and $29,263 to AOCC’s litigation fund, according to Devon Ashbridge, Lane County’s public information officer.
The full press release is below.
Lane County Board of Commissioners Withdraws Membership from Extreme Timber Lobby Group
County Will No Longer Give Taxpayer Money to the Association of O&C Counties
Today, the Lane County Board of Commissioners voted 4-1 to withdraw its membership from the Association of O&C Counties (AOCC), an extreme timber lobby group. Newly elected commissioner Heather Buch brought forward the motion to remove Lane County’s funding and membership in the AOCC. Commissioner Jay Bozievich was the lone commissioner to oppose the withdrawal.
The decision was hailed by conservationists and public land enthusiasts who have long drawn attention to the secrecy that surrounds this timber lobby group and its reckless, anti-environmental policy positions on important public lands issues.
“It is unbelievable that, year after year, Lane County taxpayers were footing a huge bill to pay timber lobbyists to shrink protection measures on our outstanding public lands,” says Josh Laughlin, Executive Director of Eugene-based Cascadia Wildlands. “The Lane County Board of Commissioners should be applauded for its bold leadership and fiscal responsibility in ensuring this out-of-touch, Big Timber lobby group no longer receives a dime of taxpayer revenue.”
In a recent fiscal year, the Lane County Board of Commissioners directed nearly $100,000 of county taxpayer money to the AOCC, including to the association’s litigation fund. The AOCC has been heavily involved in litigating against the 2017 expansion of the popular Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in southern Oregon. It is also a plaintiff in a current lawsuit challenging the Bureau of Land Management’s 2016 forest plan for western Oregon. Although the new BLM forest plan increased the cut by 37%, shrunk streamside reserves in half and brought a return to clearcutting, the AOCC challenged it, trying to further boost clearcutting public lands in western Oregon.
Lane County’s withdrawal from the AOCC follows on the heels of Multnomah and Benton County’s exit from the timber lobby group.