Registration was brisk for the Oregon Logging Conference.
State-of-the-art logging equipment; a successful high school forestry career day; informational seminars and workshops; and social networking opportunities were just a few of the highlights at the recently concluded 80th Annual Oregon Logging Conference.
Taking place at the Lane Events Center and Fairgrounds Feb. 22 to 24, 2018, the OLC attracted more than 6,000 industry professionals from 37 states as well as Australia, Canada, Finland, Japan, New Zealand, Russia and Sweden.
The weather was somewhat of a challenge but did not deter from a successful outcome. The main weather impact was the cancellation of the scheduled elementary school tours at the conference. According to Rikki Wellman, OLC manager, this is only the second time in her 46 conferences that the school tours have been cancelled.
The first Future Forestry Workers Career Day, sponsored by the Oregon Logging Conference Foundation, was a huge success on Feb. 23. More than 400 students from approximately 20 high schools attended the career day, learning about current and future job opportunities in the logging industry and the skills required for each job. The students saw modern day logging equipment; visited one-on-one with industry professionals; and heard from those in the industry.
In addition to career day activities were other hands-on educational activities, including high school students from Tillamook, Sweet Home and Scio participating in the High School Skills demonstration on Feb. 24.
The Oregon Logging Conference Foundation (OLCF) auction, held during the opening breakfasts Feb. 22 to 23, raised more than $20,000 to support college scholarships for up-and-coming industry professionals. The OLCF would like to thank all the donors of items and to all who bought items, for supporting the OLCF education programs.
2018 OLC President Rick Kriege, in his presidential message, addressed the theme — 80 Years Evergreen and Growing. He provided a brief history of the three founding industry leaders: Archie Whisnant, Col. Greely and Herb Cox, who blended their points of view that led to the beginning of the Willamette Valley Logging Conference.
As the conference grew the name was changed and now 80 years later the Oregon Logging Conference continues to be the largest equipment show west of the Mississippi.
Referring to the show's theme, Kriege said, “We plant and grow more trees than ever in today's practices. We have adopted policies that protect our future to stay 'Evergreen'.”
In his concern for the industry to grow, he said, “For our industry to continue to grow, we must reach out to today's young people, let them know we have good paying jobs with or without a college education. If you like hard work we have a job for you.”
Keynote speaker Kathy Abusow, president and CEO of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, spoke to a standing-room only crowd at the Oregon Logging Conference. Her key message was that all the hard work that goes into logger training which is recognized by SFI Implementation Committees is greatly appreciated and makes a difference to water quality, communities and customers in the supply chain.
Abusow spoke of the longstanding relationship between SFI and professional harvesters and how she hopes to continue to grow and strengthen that relationship at the state and national levels.
She also thanked OFRI for its continued support of Project Learning Tree which moved to SFI in the summer of 2017. Abusow praised Oregon for its leadership in this space and said we have a shared mission in educating the next generation to be future forest leaders which is increasingly important as 80 percent of the population is now urbanized.
Aaron Wainman, a shovel operator from Scio, Ore., won the Guess the Net Scale competition on the load of logs that was parked on the fairgrounds during the conference. Wainman was the only one out of 748 guesses who was right on the dot of 6,550. Wainman will receive a Cabela's gift card. Special thanks to Swanson Bros. Lumber and Leonard Maser Trucking for donating the truck for display at the OLC
The Desserts for Dreams luncheon was well-attended this year, with the charity selected by Oregon Logging Conference First Lady Donna Kriege being St. Charles Hospice. More than $10,000 was raised for St. Charles Hospice program. Delicious desserts and other luncheon fare was donated by many local bakeries and restaurants.
For the second year in a row and the third time in four years, Green Diamond Resource Company employee Bryan Chipps was the fastest competitor in the OLC Log Loader Competition. Chipps also placed first in 2017 and 2015 and in 2016 he tied for second place.
- First Place – with a time of 2:45:75 — Bryan Chipps, Green Diamond Resource Company, Humboldt County, Calif.
- Second Place – with a time of 3:04:03 — Zane Bryant, Bryant Logging Company, Beaver Creek, Ore.
- Third Place – with a time of 3:40:63 — Layne Walker
It took more than a little rain and cold weather to prevent forest industry families and members of the public from attending the Family Fun and Education activities on the closing day of the conference. People of all ages enjoyed activities such as building bird feeders, learning about wildlife and receiving a free tree seedling. Educational activities were held in the Wheeler Pavilion on the Lane County Fairgrounds, and then members of the public were able to take a closer look at some of the logging equipment on display and talk with industry representatives.
The Oregon Logging Conference would not be possible without the generous support of its sponsors, exhibitors, board of directors, staff and volunteers.
It's not too early to mark your calendars for the 81st Annual Oregon Logging Conference, to be held Feb. 21 to 23, 2019.
Oregon Logging Conference Names 2018-2019 Officers
The Oregon Logging Conference (OLC) has announced its new officers for 2018-2019.
- Jim Dudley, Swanson Group, Glendale, Ore., president
- Greg Stratton, Siskiyou Cascade Resources, Medford, Ore., first vice president
- Scott Melcher, Melcher Logging Co., Sweet Home, Ore., second vice president
- Craig Olson, Weyerhaeuser Co., Castle Rock, Wash., third vice president
- Milton Moran, Cascade Timber Consulting Inc., Sweet Home, Ore., treasurer
- Rikki Wellman, Oregon Logging Conference, Eugene, Ore., conference manager
The 2019 Oregon Logging Conference will celebrate the eighty-first anniversary and is scheduled for Feb. 21 to 23 at the Lane Events Center in Eugene, Ore., and will feature education seminars; exhibits on the latest technology in logging equipment; networking opportunities; and the chance to earn professional logger credits.
For more information, call 541/686-9191 or visit oregonloggingconference.com.