The Association of O&C Counties (AOCC) elected leaders and Board members for 2018 at its annual meeting in Eugene on December 1. AOCC represents and advocates for western Oregon counties that host 2.1 million acres of O&C timberlands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
AOCC members re-elected Douglas County Commissioner Tim Freeman as AOCC President, Josephine County Commissioner Simon Hare as Vice President and Polk County Commissioner Craig Pope as Secretary/Treasurer.
Also elected to the AOCC Board of Directors were Klamath County Commissioner Derrick DeGroot, Lane County Commissioner Sid Leiken, Coos County Commissioner Bob Main, Marion County Commissioner Sam Brentano, Tillamook County Commissioner Tim Josi, Jackson County Commissioner Colleen Roberts, Columbia County Commissioner Henry Heimuller and Curry County Commissioner Court Boice.
The annual meeting concluded a busy year for the Association as it engaged elected officials and federal agencies on a variety of issues affecting the O&C counties, including timber receipt revenues to counties and federal forest management reforms. Last month AOCC supported U.S. House passage of the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017 that aims to improve forest management on federal land and included provisions applicable to O&C lands.
Among it’s many activities this year, AOCC Board members and staff provided presentations throughout the state educating the public, stakeholders and agency and congressional staff on the history of the O&C Act and the advantages of sustained-yield forestry to produce sustainable communities and sustainable environments.
AOCC initiated litigation against President Obama’s last-minute expansion of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, which withdrew tens of thousands of acres of O&C lands from sustained yield timber management that is required by federal statute. With help from Representative Walden and a supportive letter from Senators Wyden and Merkley, AOCC recently achieved a breakthrough in discussions with the Department of the Interior and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) regarding $1.39 million in timber payments withheld by the federal government earlier this year. Payment of the withheld funds should occur soon.