Oregon Board of Forestry expected to select next State Forester during Friday meeting

The Oregon Board of Forestry is expected to vote on a candidate this week to become Oregon’s next State Forester at a special meeting scheduled for Friday, October 29. 

Members of the public can watch the virtual meeting on the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Youtube channel beginning at 9 a.m. Friday. An Executive Session—which bars most members of the public from attending, per state law—to discuss the “employment of a chief executive officer” will bisect the virtual meeting, after which the public portion of the meeting will resume and a vote will be taken to select a new State Forester. 

Currently serving 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 the resignation of then-State Forester Peter Daugherty. 

Daugherty resigned earlier this year following a critical report of his agency’s finances and operations by an outside accounting consultant, MGO.

Three candidates will be considered Friday. 

Their full resumes can be found online in the agenda packet for an October 20 Board of Forestry meeting.

A video of a question-and-answer session with the three can be found online.

Calvin Mukumoto, of Coos Bay, said he has worked for three decades in forestry, and served as chair of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Commision, 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. 

Therese O’Rourke, of Roseburg, listed her credentials in forestry, land management and water resource jobs spanning three decades. Much of her work has been for federal agencies, including her current job as chief of the Oregon Coast Branch of NOAA-Fisheries.

Jim Paul noted his directorship of the Oregon Department of State Lands, and his service as an employee for 15 years at the Oregon Department of Forestry. He currently works for the state as assistant director of administrative services for the Oregon Department of Corrections.

The Oregon Board of Forestry is a seven-member board that oversees the policies of the Oregon Department of Forestry and hires the State Forester. A bill to strip the board of their appointment power and give it to the governor was introduced into this year’s legislative session as the board began their search for a new state forester, throwing the process into some uncertainty, but the bill failed, never even receiving a work session in committee to discuss the bill. 

The legislation would also have turned the position of State Forester into a four-year term, instead of the current position, which has an undefined length of service.