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Bureau of Land Management shakeup may help prevent oversights

The Trump administration confirmed Tuesday that it will move about 300 jobs from the Bureau of Land Management headquarters in Washington D.C. to more western states.

Posted: Jul 18, 2019 6:29 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- The Trump administration confirmed on Tuesday that it will move about 300 jobs from the Bureau of Land Management headquarters in Washington, D.C., to more western states.

Trump staffers said the move is poised to save taxpayers $100 million over 20 years and bring workers closer to the vast majority of the 388,000 square miles they oversee.

Local land-use advocates are agreeing that the move will improve the quality of management in Oregon's public lands.

The BLM headquarters will move to Grand Junction, Colorado, and current staff will disperse to 11 western states, including California and Oregon.

Douglas County Commissioner and Association of O&C Counties President Tim Freeman told KEZI 9 News he expects to move to be impactful.

"Having the BLM decisionmakers live in areas where they manage just makes a lot more sense than having people that live on the east coast make decisions about areas that they don't live in," he said.

Freeman also suggested that having staff more attuned to local needs will help avoid critical oversights.

"Anything from the wild horse problem, to here in the far west, the lack of managing the timber and the huge wildfires that result from that," he said.

Staff with the BLM Northwest Oregon District could not comment directly on the organizational shift but were able to speak about how local management benefits the community.

"We work with a variety of local contractors and businesses to do this important work on your public land. And in doing this it provides jobs and opportunities for local communities," said Jennifer Velez with the BLM.

The Interior Department, which oversees the bureau, said on Tuesday it plans to transfer at least some positions over the next 15 months, but a specific timeline is not yet available.

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