By Jan Jackson
Schmitz Timber Management, Inc.,
For information about
Associated Oregon Loggers,
contact Jim Geisinger at
P.O. Box 12339, Salem, Ore., 97309,
call 503-364-1330 or
When Norb and Katherine Schmitz started their logging company 49 years ago, it was a simple operation.
Today, the award-winning company harvests timber on a variety of private lands, builds and maintains miles of logging roads, and provides jobs for more than 30 families in the Mid-Willamette Valley.
“The Schmitz family is a logging company we can all look up to and they continue to make significant contributions to our association,” Jim Geisinger, executive vice president of AOL, said. “In addition to the work Norb has done over the years, their son, Greg, has chaired the Oregon Professional Logger Committee for the past six years, has served on the committee for eight years, was on the Logging Code Committee for 11 years and was the Molalla Chapter Chairman in 1995. Most recently, the company donated countless hours and energy to helping AOL produce three training videos on Sustainable Forestry, rigging towers for high-lead logging and fire training. The family goes the extra mile to help promote the professional logging industry.”
Norb Schmitz, born and raised on his family’s farm in Mt. Angel, got into the logging business by helping his father, John.
“Dad was really a farmer at heart that did some horse logging,” Schmitz said of his father, John Schmitz. “In the beginning, when I was too young to work in the woods, I mainly helped him with the horses. By 1960, I started logging on my own and Greg joined me in 1981. In 1994, we organized as Schmitz Timber Management with Greg as president.”
Oregon was the first state to have a Forest Practices Act, and in the early 1970s the Schmitz Company earned many awards for compliance by the U.S. Forestry Department. They replant the areas they harvest at the required 250 trees per acre. Both Norb and Greg say they are in the business because they like the challenge, the work and the people.
“We contract for Longview Timber Corp., on their Silver Falls Tree Farm and Clackamas Tree Farm and harvest and replant for small woodland ownerships,” Greg Schmitz said. “We employ two crews for skyline (cable) logging and one crew for cat logging and some of the men who work for us have been with us more than 30 years. In addition to that, we sub-contract all of our trucking and most of the cutting.”
When the company started, Katherine Schmitz did all of the accounting out of their home office. In 1978, they moved to the shop and office in Silverton and four years ago Peggy Owsley joined the company as office administrator. Together, they oversee and manage matters like workers’ comp, payroll, and sub-contractors.
“Greg lives in Silverton with his wife, Mary, and their three children,” Norb Schmitz said. “Though Katherine and I still live on the farm in Mt. Angel, we lease the ground for row crops and grass seed. I’m still a logger at heart and not a farmer.”