Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation


Adapting to Revenue Changes Due to Declines in Timber Harvest: Case Studies in Oregon Public Deposited

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  • Many counties in Oregon were historically dependent on federal timber harvests and associated revenue sharing programs. However, since federal policy changes in the late 1980s and early 1990s, federal timber harvests have decreased. These decreases in federal timber harvests translated to decreases in county revenue from the federal government, which in some counties had been a key source of revenue. As revenue from the federal government decreased, counties had to adapt in order to overcome these changes. Counties in Oregon exhibit large amounts of diversity, whether measured by demographics, ecosystem, or resources, resulting in many unique responses to these decreases in federal receipts. These county-level changes remain largely undocumented, with current research predominantly focusing on industry and socioeconomic responses to changes in federal timber harvests. This research aims to fill this gap, providing perspectives and information to county officials, state executives, and federal lawmakers, showing the unique stories of counties and how they responded to decreases in receipts from federal timber harvests. To assess how counties in Oregon responded to decreases in federal receipts, a case study approach was used. Federal receipts over time were compared to each county’s total budgets, as well as breakouts of each county’s revenue and expense budgets, thus providing perspectives on how county budgets were impacted by changes in federal receipts and how they responded to these changes. Utilizing a case study approach preserved the individuality and unique factors of each county. This approach acknowledged that there is no “right” response to changes in federal receipts, but rather highlights a series of different approaches that fit the unique nature of each county. These approaches, conveyed through case studies, can allow for other counties to learn from each other and provide clarity to lawmakers, adding depth and context to the implications of changing funding to counties in Oregon. In each of the counties analyzed through these case studies, total budgets either remained constant or saw growth as federal receipts decreased. Some counties overcame decreases in federal receipts by shifting the allocation of their revenues and expenses, while other counties unlocked new growth by capitalizing on assets such as natural amenities. These findings show that counties may be resilient to decreases in federal receipts, with some counties thriving in the face of these decreasing receipts and others effectively maintaining the status quo. Understanding the similarities and differences between these counties and how they respond is essential for local, state, and federal stakeholders and officials, and will be a key topic of discussion as counties face continued financial uncertainty.
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