2020 - 2021 Oregon Logging Conference (OLC) President Scott Melcher comes from a long line of loggers. He is a third-generation logger living in Sweet Home, OR. Scott and wife of almost 28 years Wendi have raised two sons: Nate is 25-years-old and works for Modern Machinery in Eugene and Chris, who will soon turn 23, is in his final term at Oregon State University, studying Forest Operations Management.
Scott said after Chris graduates he will be coming to work for Melcher Logging, a company started by Scott’s grandfather Nick Melcher in 1956. Chris has worked summers for the family-owned logging business, while attending college.
Chris will be the fourth generation of the Melcher family to work in the woods.
Regarding his leadership role at OLC Melcher said, “It’s an honor to be President of the 83
“Our industry has been through a lot of challenges over the years,” he said, “and we as an industry have pushed forward and figured out how to survive the obstacles that were thrown in our path. We are now faced with probably one of the most difficult challenges we as a nation have ever faced,” he added. “Our industry was deemed essential which kept many of us working, but as new home building dropped, mills stopped buying logs and closed down, and many loggers had to park their machines and continue to wait out the pandemic.”
What does this mean for the future of the logging industry and for conventions like the OLC?
“No one knows,” Melcher said. “OLC will continue to move forward with planning of the 83
annual conference, and keep close eye on the daily updates on how to adapt to whatever is needed to continue the best logging, trucking, and construction equipment show in North America.”
Logging History of the Melcher Family
Nick Melcher came to Oregon from Minnesota after the Great Depression in the late 1930s. He was working in the logging camps of western Oregon when he met his wife, a cook in one of those camps. The couple and their two young sons (including Scott’s dad Mike) moved to Sweet Home in 1946.
Mike Melcher purchased Melcher Logging in 1970. Scott said he and his late brother Robbie (Robbie passed away in 2010) worked off and on in the family business as they were growing up, and after Scott graduated from Oregon State University with a business degree in 1990, he went to work for Melcher Logging.
A year later when Robbie graduated from the Oregon Institute for Technology with a Bachelor degree in Diesel Technology, a new company, 4M Fiber, was established by Scott and Robbie and their parents, Mike and Glenda. 4M Fiber was mainly cut to length thinning operations, working mainly for Willamette Industries and the Avery family, until the company went idle in 2000.
In the early 1990s, yet another company was formed, Timber Harvesting Inc., by Mike Melcher and long-time employee Jim Cota. Over the years, Melcher Logging and Timber Harvesting Inc. conducted both cut to length and thinning operations, a lot of that work from 2002 to 2015, in the Camp Sherman and Black Butte areas on U.S. Forest Service property. The work in these areas resulted in forest fire fuel reduction, jobs creation, and overall increased forest health.
The Melcher family businesses have been recognized as Logger of the Year (for 2009 from the Association of Oregon Loggers) and Mike Melcher was recognized by the Oregon Small Woodland Association as Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year for the state of Oregon in 1998.
Another forestry/logging related investment by Scott and his late brother Robbie and Jim Cota is Fun Forest. Fun Forest was a tree farm purchased in 1999, and there has been logging and reforestation operations on this land ever since. “We are growing our own forest for our families in the future,” Scott Melcher said. “It is one of the most gratifying things we’ve done,” he added. In 2009 Fun Forest was recognized by the Oregon Small Woodland Association as Oregon as Oregon Tree Farmer of the Year. The Fun Forest went on to compete for Western Region Tree Farmer of the Year and was recognized by the American Tree Farm System as the Western Region Tree Farmer of the Year.
Scott said even though his dad tried to discourage him from following in the family logging footsteps (during the 1980s with the spotted owl and other issues), it was something he always wanted to do. He did follow the advice of his dad by going to college and getting a degree, and after graduating felt the timing was right to go into the logging business full time.
Scott has served on the OLC Board of Directors since 2011. His father Mike Melcher also served on the OLC Board.