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STATEMENT OF MIKE DRAPER, EXECUTIVE SECRETARY OF THE WESTERN COUNCIL OF INDUSTRIAL WORKERS, DURING THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST FOREST CONFERENCE

 PORTLAND, Ore., April 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Mike Draper, executive secretary of The Western Council of Industrial Workers, today issued the following statement during the Pacific Northwest Forest Conference:
 Mr. President, Mr. Vice President and members of the Cabinet, welcome to the Northwest. I am Mike Draper, executive secretary of the Western Council of Industrial Workers. Our union represents lumber workers throughout the Northwest.
 Mr. President, I listened to you talk during the campaign about restoring hope. Well, we could use a little hope in the Northwest right now. Because if we don't break this gridlock, the next officially designated endangered species will be the timber families of the Northwest.
 Unlike the earthquake that hit Portland last week, the crisis we discuss today is no natural disaster. I have seen families destroyed, towns buildozed, the very fabric of rural communities torn by a long period of government inaction and contradiction. The earthquake may have cracked our streets and our physical foundations. But the forest management crisis threatens to crack our community and economic foundations. The situation is urgent.
 We enthusiastically welcome your promise to break the gridlock. We are optimistic our meeting today will be the first step.
 To this end, I would like to introduce you to the broad mosaic of men and women I represent here today who will be affected by what we do or don't do.
 -- I speak on behalf of the people who construct our homes -- carpenters, woodworkers, and the mill workers who have been deprived of a means of livelihood.
 People like Roger and Theresa Williams, their daughter Brandy and son Jeremy. The Williams used to provide for their family through their work at a veneer mill in Coburg, Ore. But the mill closed last December. Both Roger and Theresa lost their jobs. The Williams family is on the brink of a personal tragedy few of us will ever know.
 Sadly, they are not unique. Thousands of women and men have lost their jobs. Thousands more are at risk due to a dwindling timber supply.
 -- I speak on behalf of the paperworkers, who, as larger mills close, are feeling the same impacts as woodworkers.
 -- And I speak on behalf of thousands of children and families at risk -- their happiness, hopes, dreams, imperiled by an uncertain future.
 I speak on behalf of Tia, a young mother living homeless and jobless with three children in a tent community in Amacher County Park, Ore.
 Tia lost her mill job in Dillard, Ore. due to this gridlock. Separated from her husband, she has since gone from job to job, looking for steady work to support her family. These are the faces behind the statistics. Tia's future depends on what we begin today.
 Forest products workers understand the importance of protecting forest ecosystems. We live, work and play in our forests. We are the environmentalists.
 Mr. President, Mr. Vice President, you campaigned on the theme "Putting People First." We don't ask that people be placed above wildlife -- we only ask that you remember, people count too.
 Everybody involved in this debate has to give a little so that together we can gain a lot. At the end of the day, it matters less as to who is right than that we do what is right.
 Our workers deserve and need a healthy forest products industry to maintain the economic stability and viability of the region. By developing a plan that will assure the future of the industry, Mr. President, you and your administration can bring healing and hope to this troubled region.
 On behalf of workers everywhere, I pledge our commitment to work with this administration. Together, we can find a solution that protects the forests of God and the families of man.
 Thank you.
 -0- 4/2/93
 /CONTACT: Beth Birke for the Western Council of Industrial Workers, 503-228-0235/


CO: Western Council of Industrial Workers ST: Oregon IN: PAP ENV SU:

TS-OS -- DC032 -- 2633 04/02/93 16:02 EST
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Date:Apr 2, 1993
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