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Forests

Oregon: Meet Alan Unger

“This represents a new way of doing business in the forest. Through collaborative baby steps we have built the relationships, the trust, and the transparency necessary to generate solutions that work for the community, for our Forest Service partners, and for our forests.” Alan Unger

As a boy scout growing up in Redmond, Oregon in the 1960s, Alan Unger learned to respect and appreciate the Deschutes National Forest. He carries that respect and appreciation with him today in his current role as Deschutes County Commissioner.

“I had the privilege to grow up in this forest and I have a responsibility as an elected official to work with our communities to ensure the forest is here for generations to come.”

Alan has watched the forest shape and define Central Oregon his whole life — bringing living wage jobs and laying the foundations of downtowns during the timber era, and now bringing hikers, anglers, mountain bikers, and skiers to live, work, and play here.

“The beautiful mountains and forests that we see when we look out our windows everyday are what define Central Oregon living,” says Unger.

As County Commissioner, Alan is eager to maintain and restore the forests that are central to our quality of life and he believes that collaboration is the pathway forward.

“We need to move away from the past. We need all sides to understand that the old ways of doing business haven’t served the forest or the range of values in our communities. We can either work together to find a new way or we can watch the things we care about burn up in uncharacteristic wildfires.”

The Deschutes Collaborative Forest Project (DCFP) is an ideal forum to seek that new pathway forward. Alan has worked for over two years as the DCFP Chair to bring key stakeholders together to share their values, learn the science, seek common ground and find creative agreements to steward our forests.

“This represents a new way of doing business in the forest. Through collaborative baby steps we have built the relationships, the trust, and the transparency necessary to generate solutions that work for the community, for our Forest Service partners, and for our forests.”

Through the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration program the forests within the DCFP landscape are growing healthier, more resistant, and more resilient to disturbances like wildfire, while providing myriad benefits to the communities of Central Oregon. Moreover, restoration is and will continue to produce forest products that sustain mills and forest operators and help us extend our stewardship across the landscape.

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