The buzz of chainsaws and smell of freshly cut wood in Eugene isn’t only because of recent storms. Thousands of loggers have come to the Lane Events Center for the 76th annual Oregon Logging Conference.
The event is the largest equipment show west of the Mississippi. Organizers are excited to have about 900 registered participants from all over the U.S. as well as several foreign countries. The group’s president, Milt Moran, says an improved economy and a good program helped boost attendance:
Moran: “We have some optimism in the industry. Business is better, equipment dealers are doing better. A lot of equipment that was not replaced when things were really hard, operators just couldn’t afford to do that, they’re actually able to spend some money now.”
The logging conference is not a political group. However, Moran says most people in the industry felt Congressman Peter DeFazio’s bill to increase logging in western Oregon had promise:
Moran: “I don’t think the Wyden bill is going to cut it for what we really need to help (the) economy. You know it’s all about healthy forests.”
Senator Wyden’s proposal is in committee, and he has vowed to try to get a timber plan passed this year.
The conference is open to the public all day Saturday. It will feature high school skills competitions and family-friendly activities.