Week Six

David Brock Smith

Week Six

Hello Friends,

Greetings from your State Capital Office in Salem. The past two weeks have been very busy! I wanted to touch base with you on a very important topic, and one that I have been working on for some time. Sudden Oak Death is a very serious pathogen and one that has increasingly negative economic impacts to southwest Oregon communities. Like many bills that move through the Legislature, partisanship does not play a roll, and votes on bills are unanimous over 80% of the time. This bipartisanship is true in regards to Sudden Oak Death as well, and I am grateful to Senator Merkley for agreeing to Co-convene the SOD Task Force with me. As a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, he has extensive knowledge of this harmful pathogen and understands the impacts of its spread. His leadership on this issue is important in moving solutions forward.

I began this work as a Curry County Commissioner in late 2015, after the quarantine area expanded to 515 square miles in Curry County. We worked quickly in early 2016, partnering with the ODA, ODF, OCZMA, Legislators and others, and subsequently received $250k in state funding to assist in starting the Task Force. Fifty thousand of those dollars were allocated as a block grant to the Association of Oregon Counties to assist in facilitating the SOD Task Force. AOC has done a fantastic job. With ongoing budget concerns, I have drafted a bill, HB 3151 (CLICK HERE) to maintain funding in the ODF budget for their SOD program.

Last Friday, Senator Merkley and I convened the first SOD Task Force in Portland and I appreciate all of those who participated. Senator Merkley and I look forward to working with all of you. A copy of our joint press release is below.

More to come and thank you for subscribing to my Legislative Newsletters. It is an honor and a privilege to work for you and I thank you for the opportunity. Please CLICK HERE for my Week Six Video Update. Thank you, God Bless and don’t hesitate to reach out.


Oregon Spirit: Putting aside partisanship to save our environment and economy

By U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley and State Rep. David Brock Smith

Oregon has a long history of pioneering innovative ways to resolve pressing natural resource issues. Our state was built by Americans who relied on the land for their livelihood, and it has been protected and preserved by generations of Oregonians who want to ensure we can all enjoy our state’s wild places and public lands while putting people to work. It’s our Oregon spirit.

Today, the southwestern corner of our state is facing an urgent environmental crisis that will require that Oregon spirit to tackle and overcome.

Sudden Oak Death is a devastating disease that has killed hundreds of thousands of tanoak trees in Curry County. It was first detected there in 2001; about one-third of the county has since been affected. In Oregon, it occurs only in the forests of southwest Curry County, where a containment program is in place to slow the spread. Additionally, a European virus, called EU1, has been detected in Curry County; it harms evergreen trees.

If further measures aren’t taken, Sudden Oak Death will spread north into Coos County, west into Josephine County, and northeast into Douglas County in coming years. In California, the disease has killed millions of oaks and tanoaks in the coastal region from Monterey to Humboldt Counties. EU1 will compound the destruction in Oregon.

With the potential impacts on our local economy and environment, all of us — every level of government, every industry group, every environmental group — must work together to look for more and better solutions to eradicate these diseases.

We know collaboration is the best way to address problems like this. That’s why in a time of political divisiveness, we — a Democratic U.S. senator and Republican state representative — are putting aside differences to take this urgent issue head on.

Last week we took the first step in this concerted effort and convened a task force whose mission is to develop a collaboration-based action plan to contain the Sudden Oak Death pathogen and eradicate the EU1 virus, using the best available science. In true Oregon spirit, we had more than 40 partners from cities, counties, federal agencies, and industry associations agree to ongoing participation. We are grateful for the time and commitment they are contributing toward this effort.

This challenge is too great for one agency or one level of government to solve. Our task force contains unique and expansive expertise on Sudden Oak Death, and it will take all of us working together — as generations of Oregonians did before us — to develop and implement science-based solutions, educate our neighbors, preserve our environment, and save our economy.


Sudden Oak Death Task Force Participants

U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley

Oregon State Representative David Brock Smith

Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Indians

Oregon Department of Forestry

Oregon Forest Industry Council

Oregon State University

Curry County

Coos County

Josephine County

Douglas County

City of Gold Beach

Oregon Association of Nurseries

Association of Oregon Counties

U.S. Bureau of Land Management

U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Service

U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Plant Health

U.S. Forest Service


Yours truly,

Representative David Brock Smith

House District 1

Curry, Coos, Douglas & Josephine Counties

Capitol Phone: 503-986-1401
Capitol Address: 900 Court St. NE, H-379, Salem, Oregon 97301
Email: Rep.DavidBrockSmith@oregonlegislature.gov
Website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/smithd