May 05, 2002 11:00 pm

An undersecretary in the U.S. Department of Agriculture will speak during a two-day meeting of the Oregon Chapter of the Society of American Foresters later this week in La Grande.

Mark Rey, undersecretary for natural resources and the environment, will deliver the keynote address Thursday morning. The meetings are scheduled for the Blue Mountain Conference Center-National Guard Armory.

Former U.S. Forest Service Chief Jack Ward Thomas, who was a scientist with the Pacific Northwest Research Center in La Grande, will lead a tour of the Starkey Experimental Forest and Range Thursday afternoon.

Registration may be completed online at or by calling 503-224-8046. The event is open to non-members. Registration costs, $160 for the two-day event, do not cover all meals or social events.

Peter Green, forestry adviser to Gov. John Kitzhaber, will speak Thursday evening on sustaining healthy forests and communities in Eastern Oregon.

Economics and social values will be the main topics of the Friday morning session, with Charley McKetta, a professor at the University of Idaho, speaking on economic values and realities, and a panel of professors discussing "people's values."

Hal Salwasser, dean of the College of Forestry, and Oregon State Forester Jim Brown will discuss forest health and sustainability Friday.

Paul Oester, Oregon State University Extension forester in La Grande, said he expects between 120 and 130 people to attend the state convention.