Sisters Ranger District increases staff

 

Last updated 3/19/2024 at 11:19am



Over the past several months the Sisters District of the Deschutes National Forest has seen its head count grow from 80 to 114. It’s part of a larger national effort for the agency which has a workforce of over 31,000 managing 193 million acres of national forests and grasslands, more than the entire stare of Texas.

In 2022, Chief Randy Moore called on the Forest Service to build its workforce for the future: “Forest Service hiring had not kept pace with attrition, and we needed to attract and retain employees at a rate that would grow our agency. The passing of significant legislation gave us the rare opportunity to increase the size of our federal workforce to meet additional workload demands created by major initiatives like the Wildfire Crisis Strategy.”

Much of the funding benefiting job gains in the Sisters District is from the Inflation Reduction Act.

Sisters District Ranger Ian Reid told The Nugget, “About half the increase is for fire and fuels reduction with added engine and hand crews. We’ve added a number of biologists and wildlife technicians and have been able to move some seasonal and part time staff to full time.”

It’s in this area where Reid sees the most benefit.

“There’s a lot of lost time in always having to retrain seasonal and part time personnel,” he said.

Including the U.S. Postal Service, federal agencies have seen robust growth of 86,000 jobs over the last year. Of the 11,000 jobs gained in January, about 4,500 were for the Postal Service and 6,500 went toward the rest of federal government. Only a handful of non-census months over the last 20 years have seen such significant federal job growth. Federal employment has increased in 16 of the last 17 months.

Construction of the new District headquarters building is well under way with excavation and grading completed. Forms are being erected and concrete pouring will be in full swing soon.

Reid has issued an invitation to any interested persons to the annual open house Tuesday, April 9, starting at 4:30. The open house is a popular event where the community can learn about upcoming projects, including prescribed fires, ask questions and give feedback to district employees, and visit with their public servants and learn in greater detail the work of the increased staff.

New this year the District will host the event on the ranger station campus and offer an optional walking tour to see the final site plan, which includes a new warehouse and fire engine bay, new ranger station, employee housing, and increased visitor parking. If you are interested in attending the open house or the campus tour call 541-549-7700 or e-mail [email protected].

 

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