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Phil Sollins  

Position: #3 & Board Member
May contain: person, human, vegetation, plant, shirt, clothing, apparel, and outdoors

I grew up in Puerto Rico, exploring coral reefs and rain forest and watching spell-bound from our porch as enormous grass fires raced down-wind in the dry season.  

Moved to Corvallis in 1972 for my first job after finishing grad school: OSU College of Forestry faculty. Never left, except for two years at Yale School of Forestry as a visiting professor.

My research has revolved around ecosystem science. I was fortunate to begin my involvement at a time when the leading people world-wide could (and did) fit in one large room, first in Tennessee (1969), then in Germany (1972) and Sweden (two years later). I took early retirement in 2002 but was able to continue my research until about 2008 when my access to laboratory facilities at OSU ended.  

Upon my return from Yale, in 1988, I  bought a house with over an acre of mature second-growth forest at the base of Vineyard Mtn. By about 2018, it became clear to me that a wildfire was a question of “when”, not “if” and that I had to step up my efforts to harden my home and surrounding landscape against wildfire. I had by then replaced the cedar shake roof with 3-tab, cedar siding with Hardie board, and a wooden deck and patio with masonry. About the time I retired, I began reducing the fuel load and amount of understory vegetation in my  HIZ (home ignition zone). That project has known no end.   

I ran for CRFPD Board office about 3 years ago, having agreed to serve a term as Treasurer. My goals were, and still are, to increase both the transparency of our financial position and the District’s commitment to the safety of people and property in the face of wildfire.  We’ve made progress on both and I look forward to helping us do more.