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Rural Oregon’s Lost Prosperity Gives Standoff a Distressed Backdrop…

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

 Kirk Johnson, New York Times

BURNS, Ore – One of the largest wood mills in the West once belched its steam on the edge of town, sawing ponderosa pine. Out in the woods, tree fallers like Tex Ward were proud and prosperous…

Times were once very good out here on the high desert of east­ central Oregon, and a place like Burns…In their heyday, Harney County and its largest town, Burns, were economically important…

What happened was a steep downturn, especially in the timber industry, which has all but disappeared. Oregon lost about three ­fourths of its timber mills between 1980 and 2010; Harney County lost all seven…

People like the Wards said that when environmental groups filed lawsuits and applied pressure at the State Capitol in Salem or in Washington, D.C., to reduce logging, forest managers just surrendered…

…the sense that government…no longer hears the voice of places like this echoes through the community…

We Respond and Your Comments

Rural Oregon has one county – Harney – and several more where families are hurting. Really hurting. It’s somewhere between difficult and impossible to find jobs. Employers are gone – with no hope of returning. Citizens see Salem as deaf to their cries.

So what’re the priorities of our Liberal (or Progressive, if you prefer) Oregon government? Let’s see:

  • Affordable housing. But the problem isn’t housing. It’s that people either don’t have jobs or don’t have jobs that pay them enough to buy houses;
  • Minimum wage. No – the problem is no wages at all.
  • Not enough taxes on corporations. Yeah, that’s the ticket – let’s make it even more expensive for companies to create jobs.

We could go on, but you get the picture. While rural Oregonians are screaming for help in getting jobs into their counties, our “Progressive” legislators have lashed themselves to the mast of a rucksack of policies that not only won’t create jobs but will flatline many of those that are still stumbling along.


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