City of Manzanita to harvest Alder Creek Watershed timber

The City of Manzanita will net approximately $460,000 after harvesting 62 of its 130 acres owned in the Alder Creek Watershed. However, the city will be leaving about 10 trees per harvested acre due to the inability to cut the larger Sitka Spruce. – File Photo

The City of Manzanita will harvest 62 acres of their property in the Alder Creek Watershed; in hopes of netting $460,000.

By Chelsea Yarnell
Guest Contributor

“The city has been using this as a revenue source over the last 20 years,” City Manager Cynthia Alamillo said. “[This] has been used rarely: only when the City needs it.”

The City owns 130 acres in Alder Creek and previously harvested parts of it in 1996 to fund the blue reservoir and in 2007 to fund various street projects.

The proposed harvest would help finance the City’s plans to develop new city administration offices, police station and emergency preparedness center.

At previous City Council meetings, community members and the Lower Nehalem Community Trust expressed concerns about the harvest including selective logging and buffers.

While the harvest will be classified as a clear-cut, after taking a cruise of the acreage, Forestry Consultant Brent Keller from Mason, Bruce & Girard reported to the City Council that a significant amount of the harvest area is Sitka Spruce that are greater than 45 inches in diameter; making them too large for local sawmills. Therefore, smaller hemlock will be harvested around the older growth leaving an estimated 10 trees per acre after the harvest.

“You’re leaving a substantial amount out there,” Keller told the City Council at their Nov. 7 meeting.

“Unlike our neighboring municipals…we’re leaving a whole lot of trees there and that makes me happy,” Councilor Steve Nuttall replied.

According to the City, Alder Creek is classified as a small fish stream, which requires a minimum 50-foot buffers along the stream. But, the community requested more.

A 100-foot buffer was suggested, as neighboring Nehalem required 150 setbacks from their streams. The additional buffer would be a loss of approximately $60,000 in revenue for the City.

The proposed sale will open for bidding on Jan. 30.

“Log markets have declined in the last few months and I think it’s in the City’s best interest to wait until after the first of the year to sell your timber,” Keller wrote in a memo to the City. “Buyers will have a more certain outlook, and will be hungrier for wood as their inventories decrease over the winter.”

This bidding date will allow the City to select a bidder at their February meeting.

“Best way to sell is a two-year contract,” Keller said. “The buyer would have until 2020 to harvest it. In six months, half of estimated value is due. At the end of the one year, they would need to pay full estimated value. It’s pretty common to have benchmark payments.”

The City may reject any and all bids, and choose the bidder who is in the best interest of the City.

“We’re not in Sweet Home where you’re surrounded by bidders,” said Keller. “We really just have Stimson and Hampton as your options, which is why your minimum bid is so important.”

The City Council approved the proposed harvest and 100-foot setback from the Alder Creek stream.

“Timber revenue will help and enable us to [develop city buildings],” Mayor Mike Scott said, “And that’s our intention in doing this.”

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