LIVE: Forests and the Economy Symposium 2015

We’re excited that the 2015 Forests & Economy Symposium in Portland is today! Walk-ins are welcome at 70 NW Couch St. Doors open at 9:15 a.m.

See the final program here. Want to participate in the discussions? Bring your laptop or tablet and join us here, where we’ll be hosting a live blog during the event. Tell us what you think about the issues raised on stage, or submit questions for us to ask the panelists in a special “web-extra” segment to be filmed after the show.

Bruce Daucsavage: ‘The change is about more than just the mills’

In August 2012, Ochoco Lumber Co. announced plans to close its mill in John Day, Oregon, due in part to a shortage of timber supply from neighboring public lands. The announcement meant that rural Grant County would be losing its last surviving sawmill — and with it about 70 jobs in a community already reeling from the recession. The John Day mill seemed destined to become another painful chapter in Oregon’s history of rural economic decline, but three years later, it’s being celebrating as a Douglas fir-sized success story. The difference: an unlikely alliance of environmentalists, timber leaders, and public officials working together to complete the Malheur stewardship agreement, a ten-year forest thinning project expected to produce a reliable timber supply while also improving forest health. Thanks to that agreement, the John Day mill is hiring workers again and exploring new opportunities to expand.

Methodology for our report on cash buyers

Here is the methodology for our reporting on home sales for cash in Multnomah County, Oregon. InvestigateWest obtained a list of 17,776 cash real estate transactions — the property address and the close of escrow date — occurring between 2006 and 2014 from Oregon Multiple Listing Service. The City of Portland’s Bureau of Technology Services matched 11,236 of the records to property ID numbers. InvestigateWest matched an additional 3,800 transactions by writing a web crawler, a simple computer program that ran property searches on MultCoPropTax.org, a website maintained by the Multnomah County Department of Assessment & Taxation. The web crawler also downloaded all sales information for each available property ID, including the buyer and seller names, the sale date and price.