The 2019 legislative session will be remembered more for what it didn’t accomplish than for what it did, thanks in large measure to the two walkouts staged by Senate Republicans to block legislation they didn’t like. That makes it all the more frustrating that a relatively tiny request by Southern Oregon lawmakers to address the issue of wildfires fell through the cracks of the dysfunctional session, missing an opportunity to tackle the problem right away.
As a result, this region must wait through another fire season and maybe longer before anything close to real action can take place.
Rep. Pam Marsh, D-Ashland, who sits on Gov. Kate Brown’s Council on Wildfire Response, spearheaded a proposal to allocate $6.8 million to thin forests around cities in Jackson County. Despite bipartisan support from Rep. Kim Wallan, R-Medford, the proposal did not pass.