Press Release- December 10, 2018
Contact: Rocky McVay, 541.412.1624
The Association of O&C Counties (AOCC) elected its leaders for 2019 at AOCC’s annual meeting in Eugene on December 7. AOCC represents western Oregon counties that host 2.1 million acres of O&C timberlands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). AOCC advocates for sustained yield management of the O&C forests, as required by federal law under the O&C Act, to protect and support jobs and local economies, public services, and healthy resilient forests.
AOCC members re-elected Douglas County Commissioner Tim Freeman as AOCC President and Polk County Commissioner Craig Pope as Secretary/Treasurer. Coos County Commissioner Bob Main as elected Vice President.
During the meeting, AOCC also approved new bylaws ensuring representation of every member county on its Board of Directors. Member counties will designate county commissioners to serve on the Board in the coming days.
In addition to county commissioners and staff from AOCC member counties, the annual meeting was attended by Oregon BLM Acting State Director Chris McAlean, representatives from each BLM district in western Oregon, and congressional staff from the offices of U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and Congressmen Peter DeFazio and Kurt Schrader. Congressman Greg Walden sent a letter, read by Klamath County Commissioner Derrick DeGroot, which expressed his regret for being unable to join the conference.
Throughout 2018, AOCC and its members engaged elected officials and federal agencies on a variety of issues affecting the O&C counties, including management of O&C lands, timber receipt revenues to counties, and federal forest management reforms pending in the U.S. Congress. Among other successes, AOCC’s advocacy over the last 12 months resulted in increases in payments to the O&C counties of more than $4.1 million for essential public services.
AOCC is supporting reauthorization of the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program for Fiscal Year 2019, and is proactively working with Senator Wyden’s office on a long-term solution for federal payments to O&C counties. AOCC continues to be engaged in litigation to protect county interests. In cases currently pending, AOCC questions the authority of the BLM and the President to deviate from the congressional mandates of the O&C Act.
AOCC Board members and staff also 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.