BAY CITY - In stepping into a top role with the nation's largest lobbying group for county governments, Tim Josi hopes to help restore federal timber revenues to Tillamook County.

Earlier this month, Josi, a third-term Tillamook County commissioner, was elected second vice president of the Western Interstate Region of the National Association of Counties. The group's interests include public land-use and conservation issues, community stability and economic development. Its membership consists of 15 Western states, including Oregon.

"I was already on the (WIR) board of directors, but this position gives me a bigger bite of the apple," said Josi, who also serves on the NACo Board of Directors. A past president of the Association of Oregon Counties, he continues to serve on the AOC Board as well.

The WIR office will "put me in a position to effect some change," said Josi. He is particularly interested in working with federal agencies to restore county revenues from federal timber harvests. "Those revenues have dropped by 92 percent since 1992," he noted. "That's the reason we're in trouble where funding our roads is concerned." He referred to cuts in federal timber revenues, which created $1.8 million and $600,000 shortfalls in the county roads and general fund budgets respectively.

"We shouldn't go back to our prior harvest levels, because that's not right," said Josi. "But there needs to be a balance. I think we need to look at revamping the Endangered Species Act so we can protect endangered species while harvesting some federal timber. At the moment, we can't harvest anything, not even to thin. Our forests are just plugging up with trees, and will eventually catch on fire."

Prior to his election to the Tilla-mook County BOC, Josi served in the Oregon House of Representatives from 1991 until 1998.

A graduate of Oregon State University, Josi has owned and operated his own landscaping business for a number of years. He lives in Bay City.

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