Tillamook County is widely favored by outdoor enthusiasts for its natural beauty and wide assortment of recreational activities. Our rural community thrives off farming, forest management, recreation, and tourism. Without proper balance our community and the economic attainment that we have made would be crushed. I know this because the family I come from, and the family I am now creating, have lived within the community our entire lives.
To further introduce myself, my name is Morgan. I am a 25 year old female, whose entire career path has been within the forest sector. From the age of 12 I helped with my family’s CAT logging operation on the weekends and after school. Later, I worked with the public at the Oregon Department of Forestry before joining Hampton Lumber’s Tillamook sawmill in 2016.
From day one at Hampton I loved the culture of the company and knew I wanted to remain a member of their team for a long time. So I quickly started working my way through different departments, spending time as a heavy equipment operator in the log yard before becoming the Swing Shift Planer Supervisor, a position I hold today.
Seeing that the heartbeat of my life is geared upon this industry, it is easy to understand just how important I think it is that we continue to manage and maintain our healthy environment. Whether directly or indirectly, this trade impacts the wellbeing of a large majority of the members in my community. I am incredibly proud of it. I love where I come from and what I do for a living.
On March 26, 2019, I joined many other Hampton employees and industry members for Forest Sector Day at the Oregon State Capitol. Our goal was not only to serve as a presence but to talk with our legislators about the importance of our industry; remind them that we are human, we have families to care for, and that we don’t do things carelessly, as many are lead to believe. Some newcomers to our area might be surprised or concerned to see our forests at work. I would like them to know that our families depend on these forests and we among all others want to make sure future generations are also able to benefit from these resources. We’re committed to ensuring they continue to grow and provide a wide variety of benefits in the best, most sustainable manner we can provide.
Allow the facts to speak for themselves. Forestry is one of the most highly regulated industries in the state with some of the strictest environmental protections in the world. This is due to Oregon’s Forest Practices Act. The science proves that it works. Oregon DEQ data confirms our forests produce the highest quality drinking water in the state and our timber is the United States’ primary source of renewable, climate-friendly building products.
The message that stuck with me from my visit to the State Capitol for Forest Sector Day is that as an industry, our story is not being told and our impacts not accurately represented. Unfortunately, I fear our voices are being drowned out by those with very little understanding of working forests, scientific standards and methods, and the people who take pride in being part of one of Oregon’s oldest and most critical industries. I share this with you because I believe right now is a time that we, as an industry, need to be more vocal, stand up for what we do, and possibly even take time out of our busy work schedules to help educate others about the purpose we serve.
Tillamook Swing Shift Planer Supervisor