KTVZ: Under pressure, USFS sets Bend forest plan meeting

April 11, 2015
In The News

KTVZ: Under pressure, USFS sets Bend forest plan meeting

PORTLAND, Ore. - The U.S. Forest Service on Friday announced plans to hold a dozen additional forest management plan revision listening sessions, including one in Bend, a month after Northwest lawmakers said the three scheduled events were not enough.

The listening sessions are planned in locations throughout Oregon and Washington. These sessions follow an initial round of listening sessions held earlier in Portland, Seattle and Redding, CA.

Last month, Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., and 11 other Northwest lawmakers urged the Forest Service to hold more listening sessions on upcoming revisions to the Northwest Forest Plan.

They expressed concern that sessions were only held in three locations, many miles from some who'd like to take part in the process.

“For over 30 years, the Northwest Forest Plan has profoundly impacted the communities within our districts and any revisions to the plan will have a similar effect," the members wrote. "Holding only three listening sessions disadvantages our constituents in these rural communities.

“While incorporating the latest science and revising the Northwest Forest Plan is long overdue, the Forest Service should take all steps possible to ensure that the public has ample opportunities to participate,” the members continued.

As a result, more sessions have been scheduled.

“We promised to evaluate the need for additional Forest-level listening sessions,” said Jim Peña, Pacific Northwest regional forester. “We heard a strong desire for more sessions, so we’re holding the next round at local forest locations to further our commitment to engaging with and listening to the concerns of our communities.”

The Bend session will be held at the Deschutes National Forest headquarters in Bend on Tuesday, April 28th, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., said forest spokeswoman Jean Nelson-Dean.

The purposes of the sessions are to:

•             Share the agency's current thinking on plan revision,

•             Share how science will inform the process, and

•             Listen to ideas and thoughts about how to approach public engagement for forest plan revisions on each national forest. 

The other dates, locations and forests follow:

Date                     Location                             Forest(s)

April 23rd             Mt. Vernon                       Mount Baker-Snoqualmie

April 27th             Corvallis                             Siuslaw

April 28th             Issaquah                            Mount Baker-Snoqualmie

April 28th             Olympia                             Olympic and Gifford Pinchot

April 28th             Roseburg                           Umpqua

May 4th                Pleasant Hill                      Willamette

May 4th                Lakeview                           Fremont-Winema

May 5th                Klamath Falls                    Fremont-Winema

May 6th                Stayton                              Willamette

TBD                      Hood River                         Mt. Hood, Columbia Gorge Scenic Area, Gifford Pinchot