Some of the most beautiful weather in recent years could be found at the 82nd Annual Oregon Logging Conference (OLC), held February 20 – 22, 2020 in Eugene, OR. Thousands of people visited the three-day show, including over 1,500 high school and elementary school students and educators.
“The Oregon Logging Conference is always an opportunity for everyone to get to know who we are and what we do,” said OLC Conference Manager Rikki Wellman. “We are the largest show of this type, west of Mississippi,” she added, referring to over 325 participating vendors, with both outside and inside exhibits and displays.
Thousands of people visited the event, held at the Lane Events Center and Fairgrounds in Eugene Oregon, including hundreds of elementary and high school students.
The theme for the 82nd Annual OLC was Working Forests: Carbon Keepers and 2020 OLC President Greg Stratton said “This theme highlights the fact that our industry, the products we produce and the forests we manage are some of the best natural carbon keepers available to the world. Trees store carbon at the highest rate when they are actively growing,” he added. “Once a tree begins to mature, it slows carbon intake and after the tree matures, the process reverses, releasing CO2 back into the atmosphere,” Stratton said. His message to those gathered at the OLC was to maximize carbon sequestration of a forest, trees must be harvested at their peak growth and the ground replanted so the process can be repeated. “While this sounds good with the modern buzz words like carbon sequestration,” Stratton said, “the truth is, this is what our industry has been doing for generations.”
Oregon Women In Timber Auction
The Annual Oregon Women In Timber (OWIT) dinner and auction, which corresponds with the kick-off meet and greet of the Oregon Logging Conference, was a roaring success! A large selection of auction items was on display, and generous bidders pledged $93,000, with all proceeds to benefit OWIT’s award winning Talk About Trees program.
Keynote Speaker Dr. Patrick Moore
Dr. Patrick Moore is a founder of Greenpeace and after parting ways with the environmental group in 1986, began speaking on environmental issues. The title of his presentation to the OLC was Fake Invisible Catastrophes and Threats of Doom. “Trees are involved, but the central theme is about how we are being duped into so many supposed ‘crises’ that cannot be verified by the average person because they are invisible, like CO2, or so remote, like polar bears, that activists with no scruples can make up just about any story and make headlines around the world,” Dr. Moore said.
Future Forestry Workers Career Day
The 3rd Annual Future Forestry Workers Career Day included more than 775 high school students and educators representing 36 schools learned about a variety of career opportunities in logging, forestry, and natural resource businesses. The students talked one on one with industry professionals, participated in hands on activities and gathered information. Forestry and reforestation, wildland fire fighting, trucking, heavy equipment operations, diesel mechanics, and welding were some of the topics discussed. Students enjoyed a pizza lunch and had the opportunity to walk around the Lane Fairgrounds to see the modern and technologically advanced equipment on display.
High School Skills Competition
The High School Skills Competition has been combined with the Future Forestry Workers Career Day, as a live demonstration of some of the skills needed to work in the woods. More than 100 high school students from 10 schools in Oregon demonstrated crosscut sawing, choker setting, axe throwing, power sawing…
The top four teams received awards, as did the top individual in each category. The relay team award winners were:
1st Place – Clatskanie Middle/High Schools
2nd Place – Waldport High School
3rd Place – Philomath High School
4th Place – Crook County High School
Elementary School visits
865 students and teachers from 14 schools visited the Oregon Logging Conference on Thursday, February 20th. The Oregon Logging Conference Foundation partners with Oregon Forest Resources Institute and…to offer this up-close look at logging machinery and an opportunity to learn more about the logging business.
Oregon Logging Conference Foundation Auction
Generous supporters of the Oregon Logging Conference Foundation helped raise more than $29,000 during the two days of auctions, held during the Thursday and Friday morning breakfasts. Auction items included truck seats, tires, chainsaw carvings, and a charter fishing trip. Money raised from this auction will help provide scholarships to students pursuing careers in logging and related careers.
Conference seminar and Panels
Current issues of importance were addressed by seminars, panel discussions, and hands-on presentations at the OLC. Topics included Your Voice & Vote Counts, the Oregon and Washington Forest Practices Acts, drone use to protect resources and improve efficiency, and effective communication.
Log Loader Competition
There were 33 people from six states who demonstrated their skills in the 11th Annual Log Loader Competition. First, second, and third place winners are recognizable as winners from previous years.
For two years in a row, first place goes to Zane Bryant, of Bryant Logging, with a time of 2:35:56. Second place was Ross Cribbs of Van Well Timber with a time of 2:56:50 and third place was Bryan Chipps of Green Diamond Resource Company, with a time of 3:09:35.
Desserts for Dreams
OLC First Lady Cathy Stratton hosted the annual Dessert for Dreams luncheon, held at the Graduate Hotel, featuring delectable desserts and delicious salads. Each year the OLC First Lady chooses a charity to benefit from the proceeds. This year the proceeds will support In Our Backyard, a non-profit anti-human trafficking organization based in central Oregon. Speaker Kristine Campbell told those gathered at the luncheon that awareness is the critical first step to ending human trafficking. In Our Backyard provides training for businesses, service providers, community groups, law enforcement, and other government agencies to recognize and respond to human trafficking. Over $10,000 was raised and will be donated to the charity selected.
Family Day at OLC
Family fun and education was the focus on Saturday, February 22nd, the final day of the OLC, and hundreds of people turned out to take part in the activities. There were bird houses being built, live wildlife, tree seedlings being handed out, learning how to crosscut saw, and of course enjoying face painting, balloons, cotton candy and popcorn. This event took place at the Wheeler Pavilion on the Lane County Fairgrounds.
Guess the Net Scale
More than 800 entries were submitted in the Guess the Net Scale contest, and only one entry was the exact correct guess. Congratulations to Ric Levanen of RJL Forestry, LLC in Yacolt, WA. The gross scale was 6,460 and the net scale was 5,550. Special thanks to Swanson Bros Lumber for donating the logs, and Leonard Maser Trucking for the log truck on display.
“We couldn’t put on this successful show without the support of all of our sponsors, and the participation of all of our vendors,” OLC Manager Wellman said. “We are proud to promote and showcase the logging industry,” she added, “and contribute to its continued growth and expansion.
Save the date for 2021! Join us next year for the 83rd Annual Oregon Logging Conference, February 25, 26, and 27, 2021. Mark your calendars now and plan to attend and get to know our logging industry family.