Three-Day 86th Annual Oregon Logging Conference A Resounding Success

By: Oregon Logging Conference  |   Rikki Wellman  |   Published  541-686-9191

Under warm and sunny skies (in February!), the 86th Annual Oregon Logging Conference (OLC) attracted record numbers of industry professionals, families, friends, and members of the public. 

 

The entire Lane Events Center and Fairgrounds in Eugene was packed to the brim with over 10 acres of millions of dollars of equipment in the outside area and more than 150,000 square feet of indoor exhibits, educational seminars and events, and social activities. 

 

“I was very pleased with the turnout, the weather and the speakers,” 86th Annual OLC President Steve Henson said. “The OLC team did a great job putting on a first-class conference,” he added. 

 

The Oregon Logging Conference is a significant economic boost to the local economy, and while figures are not available for this year, last year the OLC contributed nearly $9 million to the local economy. This year that amount is expected to be higher than last year, based on increased participation and attendance at the conference.

 

Keynote Speaker, U.S. Forest Service Chief Randy Moore

Logging and wildfire were two subjects addressed by 86th Annual OLC keynote speaker Randy Moore. Moore is the Chief of the U.S. Forest Service (USFS). Chief Moore talked about forming partnerships to address the critical impacts of wildfires. 86th Annual OLC President Steve Henson said, “We need to aggressively step into the partnerships that the USFS Chief laid out and hold the USFS accountable to work with the logging industry to save our forests.” Chief Moore also fielded questions from the audience, critical of Forest Service response to recent wildfires, and indicated a willingness to open a dialogue between the Forest Service and those impacted by Forest Service decisions. 

 

20th Annual Desserts for Dreams Luncheon Fundraiser Proceeds Benefit PAVE, Paws Assisting Veterans

At this time more than $20,000 was raised at this event for PAVE, Paws Assisting Veterans, an organization that provides highly trained service dogs to veterans, at no cost, to enhance quality of life. The numbers are still being tallied and the total amount raised is expected to increase. PAVE Lead Trainer and Client Advisor Cheryl Mulick talked about the program at the luncheon and also demonstrated the training. 

 

Veteran Shelley Corteville, with her service dog Patton, told those gathered how the PAVE program changed her life. 

 

Future Forestry Workers Career Day

More than 860 high school students and teachers from nearly three dozen Oregon schools attended the 6th Annual Future Forestry Workers Career Day, held in conjunction with the OLC, in the Livestock Arena on the Lane County Fairgrounds. Industry professionals at this hands-on career day provided students information and the tools they need for entering the logging, forestry, heavy equipment operation, diesel mechanics, wildland firefighting and other related fields. Students learned about both current and future job opportunities. “It was fantastic to see so many young ladies and men from high schools attend this event,” OLC President Henson said. This event is sponsored by the Oregon Logging Conference Foundation.

 

A high school forestry skills relay was included in the Future Forestry Workers Career Day where students from eight high school forestry clubs competed in activities including cable splicing, choker setting, crosscut and single buck sawing, compass and pacing, tool identification, log scaling, and axe throwing. This skills relay has been part of the Oregon Logging Conference for more than 25 years. 

 

Waldport High School teams took first, second and fourth places, and third place was Philomath High School. 

 

Oregon Logging Conference Foundation Auction

More than $28,000 was raised during the Thursday and Friday auction at the Oregon Logging Conference. This money will be deposited in the Oregon Logging Conference Foundation scholarship program. OLCF expressed its appreciation to all donors, winning bidders, auctioneer Jaime Yraguen of Basco Logging, and Will Garrett and other volunteers from Radiator Supply House. 

 

Log Loader Competition

18 people participated and the first-place winner of the Oregon Logging Conference log loader competition is a familiar name. Zane Bryant, owner/operator of Bryant Logging in Beavercreek, OR claimed the top spot with a time of 3:09:98. Second place was Bryant Logging shovel operator Jeremy Staats with a time of 3:12:25 and 3rd place was Chuck Walker, of Elk Hill in Florence, OR with a time of 3:32:94.

 

This popular outdoor event tests the skills of log loader operators, as they demonstrate speed, skill, and efficiency. Operating a Link-Belt log loader, contestants have seven minutes to stack log blocks end-to-end, matching numbers or colors on predetermined marks on the ground.

 

This event is sponsored by Triad Machinery and Link-Belt.

 

Guess the Net Scale – Two Loads of Logs and Two Winners

Along with the traditional guess the net scale load of logs, again this year there was a load of chip and saw logs testing the guesser’s scaling abilities.

 

There were three correct guesses for the net board feet of the load of chip and saw logs, which was 4,250, All three names were put into a hat and the winner drawn was 13-year-old Wyatt Wurzer, whose family owns Wurzer Tree Farms in Molalla, OR.

 

Tiffany Silbernagel of Little Acre Logging from Lyons, OR was the closest guess to the net board feet of the other load of logs. Her guess was 5,872 and the actual net scale was 5,870.

Wurzer and Silbernagel each received a $250 Cabela's gift card.

 

Seminars and Panel Discussions 

Topics of current interest were discussed at the 86th Annual Oregon Logging Conference, while many of those attending earned Professional Logger credits to stay certified and up to date on several issues. 

 

Subjects addressed included scaling and quality of lesser log species, steep slope logging, updates of the Private Forest Accord, the Washington Forest Practices Act, and how to influence unelected boards and commissions. 

 

“The Oregon Logging Conference was packed with unique opportunities for forestry and natural resource professionals to network and learn more about their trades,” said OLC Manager Rikki Wellman.

 

Family Day

Hammering noises were constant just outside the Wheeler Pavilion as the building of wooden bird houses was taking place. Inside the pavilion was live wildlife, face painting and numerous other tree-related activities, as well as free tree seedlings being given away. Family Day is the final day of the Oregon Logging Conference and provides opportunities for industry and non-industry families to learn about and meet industry professionals. 

 

Oregon Women in Timber Dinner/Auction

The Talk About Trees dinner/auction was a huge success with a sellout crowd of 480 people in attendance. The dinner/auction’s gross proceeds of $143,000 will help support OWIT’s Talk About Trees forest education program, which is offered free to pre-Kindergarten through 8th grade students. 

 

Mark Your Calendars for the 87h Annual Oregon Logging Conference

The dates are set for the 87th Annual Oregon Logging Conference. Plan to attend the OLC February 20 – 22, 2025 at the Lane Event Center and Fairgrounds in Eugene, OR. 

 

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Three-Day 86Th Annual Oregon Logging Conference A Resounding Success
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