Cal Mukumoto tapped to become next State Forester

The next leader of the Oregon Department of Forestry was selected Friday morning by the Oregon Board of Forestry, who unanimously chose Calvin “Cal” Mukumoto, of Coos Bay, for the job of State Forester. 

Mukumoto will be charged with leading the Oregon Department of Forestry in managing Oregon’s state-managed forests, grappling with increasingly severe wildfires, and tackling significant financial difficulties facing the state agency. 

Mukumoto was selected out of three candidates by the Oregon Board of Forestry Friday morning during a virtual meeting. 

Two other candidates, Therese O’Rourke and Jim Paul, were not selected for the job. 

“I’m honored at this point. Almost speechless,” Mukumoto said moments after his nomination.

Speaking to Mukumoto, Board of Forestry Chair Jim Kelly noted that the details of the appointment would be worked out with ODF’s Human Resources department, but that the board hoped to have Mukumoto in the position as soon as possible.

In his resume, Mukumoto, of Coos Bay, said he has worked for three decades in forestry, and served as chair of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Commission, among other jobs and positions. Mukumoto ran for office in 2020, seeking the Oregon House of Representatives District 9 seat as a Democrat, losing to Boomer Wright, R-Coos Bay. 

He also served, among other boards, on the Board of Forestry in the past, the same board that today selected him to lead ODF. 

Kelly started the meeting Friday morning with an acknowledgement of the state employees, board members, state legislators and public who gave input on the nearly six-month process to select a new State Forester. That process began following then-State Forester Peter Daugherty’s announcement on May 7 that he would resign following a critical report of his agency’s finances and operations by an outside accounting consultant, MGO.

Tapped to serve in the role on an interim basis is Acting State Forester Nancy Hirsch, who was selected May 27 and began in an official capacity June 1 to fill the position left vacant by Daugherty, who served his last day on the job May 31. 

Kelly praised Hirsch’s leadership—her second stint as an acting State Forester—of the Oregon Department of Forestry.

“It’s just been pretty incredible to see her step in and get things done in this department,” Kelly said. 

It was not immediately clear when Mukumoto’s first day as State Forester will be. 

The two candidates not selected were thanked for applying for the job by Kelly and other members of the board.