SOFRC Mission

The mission of the Southern Oregon Forest Restoration Collaborative (SOFRC) is to increase the restoration of federal forests in Southwest Oregon's Rogue River Basin. We work to improve forest health and resilience, reduce the risk of uncharacteristic wildfire to forests and communities, and strengthen regional forest restoration manufacturing and workforce capacity.

George McKinley, Executive Director

George grew up in the midwest, working on his grandparents’ Christmas tree farm. He has a graduate degree in religious studies, has worked as a wilderness guide, and for ten years taught Perspectives on Nature in a backcountry-based environmental studies program with the Sierra Institute at the University of California Santa Cruz. He moved to the area in 1992 and opened a small wood shop utilizing primarily locally-produced wood. Today, he and his wife own some 600 acres of forest and his custom milling operation, Mountain Millworks, works with forest owners and others interested in using local wood. McKinley was 2008 Jackson County Tree Farmer of the Year in recognition of the long-term stewardship of his forest and leadership in efforts to promote small diameter utilization. George believes that the strength of collaboration derives from the commitment of individuals with different perspectives to work together in achieving a shared set of goals.

Terry Fairbanks, Board President

Terry, a forester and silviculturist, recently retired from the Bureau of Land Management, Medford District. She was also a certified silviculturist for the U.S. Forest Service for ten years. During her career at the BLM, she was heavily involved in stewardship contracting and agreements, and helped form the Klamath Siskiyou Oak Network (KSON), and was an early contributor to the SOFRC Cohesive Strategy. Along with her husband, Rich, she manages a small parcel of forest land in the Applegate Valley. Her interests include work on climate change, oak habitat and visiting the Cascade-Siskiyou Monument. She received a B.S. in Forest Management from the University of Idaho in 1987.

Darren Borgias, Vice President

Darren Borgias is the Southwest Oregon Conservation Director for The Nature Conservancy, and has worked in the region since 1987. His forest restoration involvement is grounded in a perspective clarified by co-authoring the Klamath Mountains Ecoregional Assessment and assisting on the LANDFIRE program. He collaborated on the City of Ashland Community Alternative for the USFS Ashland Forest Resiliency Stewardship Project, and guides the Conservancy’s partnership role in design, multi-party monitoring, community engagement, and supporting a cross-boundary all-lands approach. He convenes the Rogue Basin Fire Learning Network, through which Applegate community members articulate measures and mapped local societal values concerning forest restoration. He also collaborates on the Applegate Fuels Demonstration. Darren and his team successfully pursued grants to research regional historical forest references to inform restoration. Darren continues to oversee Conservancy partnerships on the Table Rocks and other natural areas, providing conservation planning, technical restoration assessments, and management plans. Darren has published articles on the ecology and botany of Southern Oregon, and also published a biography of C.B. Watson, southern Oregon’s first conservationist. Darren’s appreciation of forest management dates back to work on the family woodlot, forestry training received in high school, and work as a fire-fighter for the Washington Department of Natural Resources. He earned both his B.S. and M.S degrees in biology and ecology at Western Washington University, and conducted thesis research on spruce-fir forest ecology in the northeastern Cascades. Darren and his wife Gaia live in Ashland, where they raised two children.

Jim Wolf, Treasurer

Jim retired from the Oregon Department of Forestry as their fire program analyst in 2005. He was the project lead on Oregon’s Communities At Risk Assessment and led the staff work on the implementation of the Oregon Forestland-Urban Interface Fire Protection Act of 1997. During his 29 years with ODF,  he worked in forest management, forest practices, and fire as both a forester and a manager. His fire experience has been primarily related to fire behavior, planning, and management. He served on state incident management teams for 20 years as a Fire Behavior Analyst, Situation Unit Leader and Planning Section Chief, and as an Air Attack Group Supervisor for the district. He was a member of the national Complex Incident Management (CIMC) cadre. Jim has a BS in Forest Management from Oregon State University.

Jim’s work spans in scale from local to state to regional. Locally, he has completed local and county-level CWPP risk assessments, coordinated two county CWPP efforts and a two-county local coordination group, and is assisting in development of landscape forest restoration assessment and strategy. At the state level, he contributed to the Oregon Wildfire and Poverty Report. Regionally, he recently completed his role as the agency project manager for the West Wide Wildfire Risk Assessment, a project sponsored by the Council of Western State Foresters and Western Forestry Leadership Coalition.

Blair Moody, Secretary

Blair is a Certified Forester, Presidential Field Forester, and Fellow of the Society of American Foresters. He recently retired after 38 years practicing Forestry in both private industry and government land management agencies while working in the forests of Northern Arizona and Southern Oregon. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Forestry from Northern Arizona University.

Blair brings to the board career knowledge on the forest products industry, logging systems, biomass utilization, and agency stewardship contracting. While working for the BLM and USFS, he was responsible for developing, coordinating, and monitoring each agency’s biomass and stewardship programs ensuring technical excellence in execution of the programs, and the integration with other land management disciplines and objectives.

Blair has served in leadership positions on numerous local non-profit community and regional professional boards.  Those boards include Southern Oregon University, United Way of Jackson County, Big Brothers, Mt. Ashland Association, Society of American Foresters, Northern Arizona University Advisory Council for the College of Forestry, and the Oregon Logging Conference.

Max Bennett

Max has served as an Extension Agent, Forestry & Natural Resources for Oregon State University since 1999.  He provides educational programs for small woodland owners, foresters and other natural resource professionals, and the general public.  Areas of focus include landowner education, silviculture and stand management, forest restoration, and riparian management.  He also conducts applied research to provide new information to enhance the long term management of southern Oregon forests. Max covers Jackson and Josephine Counties and contributes to statewide projects in collaboration with Extension colleagues in other counties and on the OSU campus in Corvallis.  He has an appointment as an Associate Professor in the Department of Forest Engineering, Resources and Management at Oregon State University.

Marko Bey

Marko is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of Lomakatsi. Lomakatsi’s ten regional ecosystem restoration programs and associated workforce initiatives are a primary result of his work.  Most essential has been his leadership in the orchestration and formation of collaborative partnerships — partnerships that are strengthened by a wide variety of stakeholders, including federal and state agencies, Native American tribes, organizations, private landowners and community members.

Marko has 26 years of experience working in  forestry and ecosystem restoration, from the ground up.  He has worked throughout six western states and a variety of ecological communities, most extensively in the forests and watersheds of southern Oregon and northern California. Working locally, regionally and nationally  to advance the full spectrum of ecosystem restoration, green job creation and forest-based community revitalization, Marko participates in a variety of strategic coalitions, committees and interdisciplinary teams, both regionally and nationally.

Brian Ballou

Brian Ballouretired after a 20-year career with the Oregon Department of Forestry. He was a public information officer and a fire prevention specialist and was stationed for eight years at ODF’s headquarters in Salem, and 12 years at the Southwest Oregon District headquarters in Central Point. For seven of those years, Ballou was a lead information officer on one of ODF’s incident management teams. In 2015, Ballou received a Bronze Smokey Bear award for his service to wildland fire prevention in southwest Oregon.

Prior to joining ODF, Ballou was a seasonal firefighter with the U.S. Forest Service, working on the Willamette, Siuslaw, Winema and Rogue River national forests. He was also the founding editor of “Wildland Firefighter,” a trade magazine.