Snow surveyors approach SNOTEL site on Mount Hood.
Koeberle’s job carries her over mountains by helicopter and horse, snowshoes and skis. She has encountered grizzly bears, avalanches and wolves and visited ridges that few people have seen.
Koeberle is a hydrologist and snow surveyor for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and works on the agency’s snow survey team—a group of specially trained scientists who maintain snow gauges that are important to farmers, business owners and many other people in the West. Read more »
Armillaria mycelial felts under the bark of a live-infected tree on Oct. 10, 2008. Note the resin exudate on the lower bole; another symptom of Armillaria infection. US Forest Service photo.
According to Richard Faulk’s book “Gross America”, the Malheur National Forest in eastern Oregon’s Blue Mountains is “… one of my favorite gross places in America.”
That’s because it is home to arguably the largest living single organism on earth. Read more »
Cottage Grove residents stand under an arch welcoming visitors to the newly restored downtown area.
Like so many small towns these past few decades, downtown Cottage Grove, Oregon has seen its vitality as the community’s economic and social center fade as retail, building occupancy and overall traffic on Main Street have declined. The historic city center was laid out and constructed as the community’s small, but bustling hub near the turn of the last century. Over the years, changes in lifestyle, business models, traffic patterns, and overall growth diverted activity away. In addition, the small town of under 10,000 is conveniently located on an interstate just 20 miles from a major population center. As such, Cottage Gove today is home to many who prefer a quiet, small-town residential environment, but who work, shop and do business in the nearby Eugene-Springfield metropolitan area. Read more »
For Martin Paredes and his family (pictured here), Castle Rock Apartments provide good quality rental housing for working families, while serving as a stepping stone to home ownership.
Boardman, Oregon, is a port town of just over 3,000 on the banks of the Columbia River surrounded by productive farm lands. These resources have helped the community generate above-average economic growth through its agricultural, food processing, manufacturing, and shipping sectors. As these industries have grown, however, a significant shortage of affordable workforce housing has made finding and keeping skilled employees difficult and hinders further economic development in this promising community.
In order to secure affordable housing, many who work in Boardman have had to endure long commutes from outlying towns or settle for homes that simply did not meet their families’ needs. Martin Paredes, Olgalibia Rosales Rivera, and their four children are one such family. Due to a lack of rental options in the community, the family was living in a two-bedroom apartment in a part of town that offered few family-friendly amenities and services. Read more »
Susan Curington of North Woods Figured Wood (left) shows State Director Vicki Walker (right) how the family business “upcycles” burls, stumps and small, odd-shaped, or difficult-to-use wood pieces to be sold at premium prices to carvers and other hobbyists. USDA photo.
At a recent expo held by the Oregon Woodland Cooperative (OWC), I had the opportunity to meet with a number of family forest landowners who are cultivating additional commercial ventures thanks, in part, to USDA’s Value Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program.
At the event, OWC President Neil Schroeder introduced me to cooperative members who have sprouted new businesses and created local jobs as a result. The terrific part of all this is that USDA’s VAPG program provided funds needed to conduct the in-field assessments, feasibility studies, business planning, and marketing activities needed to identify, process and sell new, non-lumber products harvested from Oregon’s family forests. Read more »
Over its 15-year history, wood door manufacturer Pacific Pine has seen its share of good times and tough times. In 2007, the company was running strong with solid sales and nearly 70 employees. To sustain the momentum and continue to grow, they decided to take on short-term debt for large machinery and equipment. It wasn’t long, however, before the housing market and overall economy slid downhill, taking the company’s sales along with them. By 2009, Pacific Pine had reduced their staffing level to 30 and made dramatic changes to operations. At the same time, many conventional banks were having problems of their own. As a result, Pacific Pine’s lender decided they would not continue to carry Pacific Pine’s line of credit.
Having weathered tough economic times, Pacific Pine Products, Inc. is on track to have a record year for 2012, hammering out roughly 5,000 doors each month. “I can’t believe there are so many people buying doors,” says company vice president Greg Larson (shown with product).
Read more »