Oregon's economic woes are well expressed in the 2009 timber harvest reports.
Timber harvest in the state is at the lowest level since the Great Depression, with little relief expected on the near horizon. The state's timber harvest for last year tallied 2.748 billion board feet, down 20 percent from the low numbers of 2008.
Timber harvests in eastern Oregon have declined 45 percent over the past five years. The take in the eastern region totaled about 346 million board feet for 2009.
Klamath County accounts for the largest portion of the timber cut in eastern Oregon at about 77 million board feet, an increase of 14 percent more than was harvested during the previous year.
The bulk of the 2009 harvest came from western Oregon at about 2.4 billion board feet. This is down nearly 3.1 billion board feet from the previous year totals out of the westside forests.
Forest industry landowners account for most of the timber cut statewide and that sector has seen the largest decreases in harvest totals. In 2009, the forest industry landowners saw a 23 percent decrease, dropping to a total harvest of 1.986 billion board feet.
Besides Klamath and three other counties, the BLM and Native American tribes increased their annual timber harvest.
Much of the blame for low harvest numbers in the state comes from weak housing and nonresidential construction.
"Oregon's forest industry infrastructure, although much reduced in recent years, remains intact," said Gary Lettman, principal ODF forest economist . "There have been numerous recent temporary mill shutdowns, but few mills are being permanently shuttered."