Millions in Timber Stimulus Hired Foreign Workers, No Americans

Published October 24, 2011

A $7 million stimulus program that was supposed to spur job growth in the Oregon timber industry did not create a single job for Oregonians or any other Americans, and was instead used to hire 254 foreign laborers to clear forestlands in central Oregon, the U.S. Department of Labor reports.

The companies that received taxpayer dollars under the stimulus plan did not advertise for workers in Oregon. Twenty-nine Americans applied for the jobs but none were hired. 

“The goal of the stimulus bill was to put Americans back to work, not foreign nationals,” said Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR). “Oregonians have been logging for over a century, our workforce is one of the best in the world, and these contracts should have been awarded to companies that hire Oregon loggers.”

“I know guys that were losing their equipment back then because they didn’t have any work. And I’m sure they would have done anything to get work,” logger Jeff Heller told KATU channel 2, an ABC affiliate in Portland. “The purpose of that stimulus money was to create jobs, and when it goes to foreign nationals, that’s just a crime.”