VOTE: NO – Died in Committee
Status (overview) of bill: https://olis.oregonlegislature.gov/liz/2020R1/Measures/Overview/SB1516
This bill creates a program for periodic review and modernization of State Forestry Department structure and programs to ensure effectiveness and efficiency, including programs relating to wildfire.
Appropriates moneys for biennium ending June 30, 2021, for carrying out certain actions under modernization program. $XXX for converting not more than 50 seasonal positions for personnel who are trained to fight or prevent wildfires into permanent full-time positions that have duties including, but not be limited to, the fighting or prevention of wildfires. $XXX allowed for modernization. This seems like a lot of money that doesn’t really prevent fires. It does provide a base of 50 trained fire fighters by employing them year-round.
We pay department heads a large salary to keep departments running efficiently and up-to-date. Is the modernization allowed by a third-party an excuse for poor management? Converting temporary position for fighting wildfires to full time requires a structure to keep them working through the winter. It should be developed in a modernization plan prior to approving this plan.
We should oppose more strongly the conversion from proper forest management to firefighting infrastructure. Firefighting has become an enormous expenditure. Instead of spending, allow sustainable harvest and thinning logging which will fund our rural communities and schools, which will reduce spending so much on firefighting.