Since the work starts at daylight and getting to the jobsites can take up to one and a half hours, they’re definitely early risers. They log five days a week, but with equipment maintenance and paperwork, they always work seven. Yet Steve, Ed, Harold and Jesse Kottre wouldn’t want it any other way.
Kottre Tree Farms does contract logging in state forests within the Tillamook Burn. The company also owns 360 acres of their own timber land, which they harvest using a 35-40 year crop cycle. The land is replanted by hand with a mix of Douglas fir, noble fir, cedar and hemlock, at 400 trees per acre.
Steve and Ed were born in Astoria and eventually moved to Tillamook. Like most kids on the coast, “we always wanted to play outside”, remembers Steve. After graduating from Tillamook High School, they each went to work “in the woods” for Crown Zellerbach. By 1989, they had opened their own company, which has grown steadily.
Today, Kottre Tree Farms employs seven full time, including Ed’s sons, Harold and Jesse, who are now part of the management team. Their employment philosophy is simple: “you hire good, you pay good”, which has resulted in a productive team of longtime employees, each of whom receives health insurance for their families. In addition, Kottre Tree Farms regularly contracts with several tree cutters and log truck operators.
The work is bid contract to contract, with some jobs lasting a year or more. “Our name is on it,” explains Jesse, “which is why we take extra pride in doing great work.” “Logging is a small community,” adds Ed. “People know who does a good job.”
Steve jokes that “we log because we haven’t seen anything better yet”, but clearly they love the career and enjoy working outdoors in the coastal mountains. In fact, in their off hours they often head back outside – hunting, hiking and fishing.
The Kottres are pragmatic about their division of labor: “Whatever needs to be done, gets done”, says Harold. “There’s no politics,” adds Ed. “Efficiency is the key to what we do.” Asked how they get along, they simultaneously laugh, but it’s obvious that they do.
Kottre Tree Farms has invested millions in expensive heavy equipment such as yarders, yoders, shovels, bulldozers and graders. Constant maintenance is essential, which in almost all cases is performed by Steve, Ed, Harold and Jesse.
“We’re a small company and we prefer to trade with a local community bank,” explains Ed about why Kottre Tree Farms is an Oregon Coast Bank customer. The Kottres value the relationship they have with Angela Warren, who manages our Oregon Coast Bank Tillamook office and recently helped the Kottres obtain a new yarder. Steve adds that they also appreciate working with “a bank that supports our industry.”
With both physical and financial risk, logging has historically been a difficult business. But sustainably harvesting our forests remains essential to our coastal economy. All of us at Oregon Coast Bank are appreciative of the hard work of our entire logging industry and we’re honored that so many timber related local businesses have chosen to bank with us.
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