Stacey Petersen, Geography
In fulfillment of !he responsibilities of a recipient of !he scholarship for Undergraduate research, I submit !his final report on Timber Dependency and Geographic Change in Lane County, Oregon. The scholarship enabled me to do !he following:
a. Observe and Photograph three former mill towns in Lane County, Oregon for geographic changes
b. Survey/Interview a partially random stratified sample of 66 residents of Lane County
c. Meet with Government officials of four cities in Lane County, Oregon for an overview of planning measures and government concerns for displaced mill workers
d. Perform follow-up communications by phone upon return to Provo.
Wi!h !he information collected from Ihese procedures, I was able to outline geographic change as it related to the loss of employment due to mill closures in the specific areas of Cottage Grove, Oakridge, and Mapleton/Swisshome in Lane County, Oregon. A brief outline of !hese changes includes the following:
a. High vacancy rates in two of !he cities, bringing about low rents, attracting low income and/or welfare families to area.
b. Social problems such as crime, low academic achievement, and discontent associated with high unemployment.
c. Decay of central city with !he exception of Cottage Grove which is centered on I-5, a main freeway system bringing tourism and public awareness to site.
d. Utilization of former mill sites for strip malls or shopping centers.
e. Increasing private timber cuts adjacent to city leaving barren land exposed.
f. Increased emphasis on recreation and tourism within forest service and city planning agendas.
g. Attraction of low skill manufacturing jobs by county and state government (i.e. Sony contract signed during visit.)
The project was successful in !hat it provided for a collective overview of the results of job loss in a major portion of a city’s economy and !hat the residents of !he cities visited were willing to discuss many of !he inquiries made by !he survey and/or by myself. The most challenging and Ihreatening portion of !he project was !hat !he people had a difficult time communicating their ideas on paper and/or comprehending the survey questions. Many of the former mill workers hadn’t finished high school and the written word was likely intimidating to them. Overall, I was pleased to have the opportunity to further the research I began in October, and I thank the Office of Research and Creative Work for providing the means to accomplish the goals associated with the project.