PFT Delivers an Outside-the-Box Salute to U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley in Portland, OregonDecember 29, 2010
The Pacific Forest Trust presented the Honorable Jeff Merkley with its Outside-the-Box award in Portland earlier this month, at a festive reception held to honor one of the U.S. Senate's most committed forest champions.
Right to Left: PFT Co-CEO Connie Best; Senator Jeff Merkley; PFT President Laurie Wayburn;
Sen. Merkley's legislative director Jeremiah Baumann and PFT Board Chairman Charlie Swindells.
Senator Merkley has been an outspoken advocate for forests in Oregon and beyond since his election to the U.S. Senate in 2008. A key supporter of our efforts to complete Oregon’s Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument (CSNM), Merkley’s first vote as a U.S. Senator was in favor of a public lands bill that creates new wilderness, wild and scenic rivers, and national recreation areas across Oregon, including creation of the 23,000-acre Soda Mountain Wilderness Area within the CSNM.
As a member of the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee, Senator Merkley has worked to craft and support federal energy and climate legislation. He also co-sponsored legislation to provide full and permanent appropriations for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the main source of funding for federal land acquisitions and other conservation projects.
"As the son of a millwright in timber contry, I know the central role the forests industry plays in our region of the country," Senator Merkley said, accepting his award from PFT's co-founders and board member Hal Salwasser, dean of the Oregon State University College of Forestry. "My very first vote as a U.S. Senator was in favor of an omnibus public lands bill that creates new wilderness, wild and scenic rivers, and national recreation areas across Oregon, and I'm still thinking about the role of forests in dealing with climate change. You know, someone once said to me, wouldn’t it be great if we had a device that could take the carbon dioxide out of the air? And I told them we grow millions of those in Oregon’s forests.
"This award is a very nice affirmation of all the natural resource issues I've been working on," Merkley concluded. "I applaud PFT for all the work you're doing to make the world a better place."
Senator Merkley visited with PFT board members, supporters and agency partners who gathered at the historic Benson Hotel downtown to salute his achievements on behalf of U.S. forests.
“In a very short time Senator Merkley has demonstrated his outstanding commitment to securing U.S. working and natural landscapes, for their myriad public benefits,” says PFT President Laurie Wayburn. “Even as he has championed the stewardship of our working lands, he has also been an outstanding leader in protecting our national treasures. He has been an invaluable ally in our work to add more than 1,200 acres to public ownership for the CSNM in 2010.
“Especially worthy of recognition is the Senator’s “outside the box” work with his fellow lawmakers to develop effective national climate and energy legislation,” Wayburn added. “Senator Merkley is committed to solving the climate and energy crisis, and for that we commend him.