Oregon Reps Push To Keep Forestry Centers Open

Two of Oregon’s U.S. House members are trying to prevent the closure of local Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers (CCC) like the one in Estacada, OR. The Trump administration announced the closure of these centers nationwide, which house programs that teach disadvantaged youth practical skills like wildfire fighting.   

Reps. Peter DeFazio and Earl Blumenauer introduced the amendment on Wednesday, June 12, as Oregon enters an increasingly hazardous wildfire season. 

“This isn’t just about fighting for jobs,” Blumenauer says, “it’s about fighting for the environment and our lives.”  

The Estacada CCC serves over 180 young people and has 45 staff members, and was one of the first groups to respond to the 2017 Eagle Creek fire.  

If the Trump administration’s order goes forward, every Job Corps CCC in the country will stop accepting students and start laying off or out-placing staff. This move is expected to affect 1,100 Forest Service employees, a significant change in Oregon which is home to thousands of federal forestry jobs.    

The CCC staff are also trained and prepared for fighting wildfires, and their replacement or departure could seriously impact Oregon’s wildfire readiness. They have trained over 900 people who have worked 120,000 hours on wildfires in the past three years.   

By Ian MacRonald