EUGENE, Ore. - The circular saw rips through a log with a satisfying buzz.
A chainsaw sculptor sprays sawdust and debris from a half finished wooden boot.
An industrial size wood chipper chews through logs as if they were celery.
Snowflakes whip through the air.
Not a common sight at the Lane County Fairgrounds — unless you attend the 73rd Annual Oregon Logging Conference (OLC) Thursday afternoon.
The conference — which runs Thursday Feb. 24 through Saturday, Feb. 26 — showcases logging machinery outdoors and discusses the latest logging issues indoors at the fairgrounds.
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“The Oregon Logging Conference is a group of timberland owners, loggers, forest land managers from companies and agencies here to discuss the current issues here with logging,” said Milt Merran, Oregon Logging Conference Director.
The conference was established for loggers and logging companies to meet and exchange the latest advances in logging technology and ethics in 1939.
This year, timber companies from across the country have gathered to showcase their products, train new recruits, and discuss ethics.
Oregon Logging meets in different locations across the state every year, with Lane County playing host for 2011.
Other than forums and vendors, the OLC puts on a log loader competition, which begins at 1:30 p.m. everyday of the conference.
Contestants stack three-foot diameter logs end on end until they tower roughly 15 feet high.
“This isn’t about speed, it’s about finesse,” Merran yelled to the crowd of spectators as the first contestant organized the logs in easy to grab rows.
Spectators watched with wide eyes and big grins.
The winner of the log loader competition will be announced Saturday at the close of the final round of competitors.
Chainsaw wood carvers are also at the conference performing their craft everyday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. outside the OLC demonstration area.
“Chainsaw sculpture is basically using what is typically considered a loud, obnoxious, destructive piece of equipment to make sculpture with and art,” said Bob King, chainsaw sculptor and owner of Bear Necessities Sculpture llc.
For a full program and schedule of events visit www.oregonloggingconference.com.