The Association of O&C Counties (AOCC) unanimously re-elected its leaders for 2020 at AOCC’s annual meeting in Roseburg on December 13. Commissioners from AOCC members once again selected Douglas County Commissioner Tim Freeman as AOCC President and Polk County Commissioner Craig Pope as Secretary/Treasurer. Coos County Commissioner Bob Main was re-elected as Vice President.
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 lands, as required by federal law under the O&C Act, to protect and support jobs and local economies, public services, and healthy resilient forests.
During its annual meeting, AOCC members discussed recent court victories affirming that the 1937 O&C Act requires all 2.1 million acres of O&C timberlands under jurisdiction of the BLM to be be managed for sustained yield timber production. Last month, a federal judge ruled the Bureau of Land Management’s 2016 Resource Management Plans violated the O&C Act.
In a separate ruling, the same judge determined O&C lands cannot be included by presidential declaration in a national monument in which sustained yield management is forbidden. AOCC has announced its support for congressional legislation that would restore the Monument by replacing all O&C lands included in the Monument with other, non-O&C lands. AOCC is also supporting reauthorization of the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program, as well as Senator Ron Wyden’s long-term solution for federal payments to O&C counties.
In addition to county commissioners from AOCC member counties, the annual meeting was attended by representatives from each BLM district in western Oregon and congressional staff from Congressmen Peter DeFazio’s office, while Senator Wyden greeted the meeting through a video message.