To our misfortune, timber interests dominate local governments.
Our Clallam County Commission is dominated by current and former timber-company executives.
The Port of Port Angeles is another institution dominated by corporate timber interests.
The Port has two advisory committees, one of which is the very active Timber Advisory Committee whose membership consists of two current and one former employee of a timber company, one employee of a mill, one employee and one owner of timber products companies and one owner of a logging and trucking company.
There are two vacant positions but no forest scientists, environmental representatives or citizens-at-large.
According to the Forks Forum, “In the 2016 budget, the Port has budgeted $50,000 for a timber strategic initiative.” (May 6, 2016)
Hardly an industry in need of financial assistance.
Each year, the Port of Port Angeles exports between 800 and 100 million board feet of raw logs to Asia.
This represents the loss of hundreds of local mill jobs.
Each part of the traditional timber process (selling, logging, trucking, mills, to products) required a lot more workers and generated a lot more local revenue.
Exports stop that process at the logging and trucking, sending all the jobs and downstream earnings to foreign countries.
Mills generate far more local economic activity than logging exports.
Forks has lost all of its mills due to these exports.
If the county and port commissioners really want to help our communities, they should look beyond the timber industries’ exports and self-interests.