Resources for employees impacted by fire


Dorena Genetic Reource Center - History

Dorena Genetic Resource Center was established in 1966 as the headquarters for the White Pine Blister Rust Resistance Program. Screening and breeding for white pine blister rust resistance and the establishment of western white pine arboretum of resistance trees were among the early tasks undertaken at Dorena.

The Dorena Tree Improvement Center's pioneer blister rust resistance selection and breeding program is patterned after work done by Richard T. Bingham, Forest Pathologist, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Moscow, Idaho. Tom Greathouse, Regional Geneticist, now retired, established a similar blister rust resistance program in the Pacific Northwest Region. Today, the Pacific Southwest Research Station and the Rocky Mountain Forest Experiment Station are the primary research assistance source for the Region's western white pine and sugar pine blister rust resistance program.

The Pacific Northwest Region's western white pine and sugar pine blister rust resistant development work started in 1956, followed by the establishment of grafted rust resistant field selections in arboretums. The program included tree selection, controlled crossing, resistance screening, and seed orchard establishment.

In 1966, the Dorena Project was established, and Project Leader Gerald Barnes and his crew were stationed at Dorena. Significant changes occurred during the following years. Peter Theisen became regional geneticist, operating out of the Region's Portland office and providing the Project with technical direction. A Project rust screening facility was built for screening the Region's rust resistant field selections. Another Project building was constructed to store the Region's tree improvement seed. In addition, the Dorena Project established tree climbing methods and equipment training workshops.

The Dorena Project name was changed in 1975 to the Dorena Tree Improvement Center to better reflect the work program. Then in 1976, Cary Osterhaus became the Dorena Tree Improvement Center geneticist, providing on-site direction to the rust resistance program. In 1978, a pilot project for lodgepole pine western gall rust resistance was established, and in the same year Charles Gansel was hired as Center Manager.

In 1979, Program Geneticist Safiya Samman and Center Forester Bill Sery came to Dorena. The Center's program also changed to place greater emphasis on providing materials for the Region's seed orchards and evaluation plantations. In 1981, the seed lot extractory plant was completed, greatly expanding the Center's ability to properly handle many seed lots as well as the ability to thoroughly monitor and process seed. A new greenhouse and office were added in 1982. Ray Steinhoff and Rob Mangold served as Center Geneticists in the mid- and late 1980's. Joe Linn served as center manager from 1987 through July 13, 2003 and oversaw major changes. Joe Linn left Dorena in July 2003 to assume the natural resource/fire staff officer position on the Umpqua N.F. Richard Sniezko was Acting Center Manager from July 2003 to Feb 2005. Carol Morehead started as Center Manager on February 20, 2005.In January 2003, the name of the center was changed to Dorena Genetic Resource Center (DGRC).

The current organizational structure includes: Richard Sniezko (Center Geneticist since 1991; and also acting center manager since July 2003), John Petrick (Silviculturist since 1989), as well as foresters Jude Danielson, Leslie Elliot and Lee Riley. The Dorena center manager and geneticist work with Sheila Martinson (Regional Geneticist since 1990) and Doug Daoust (Regional Forest Health Protection leader) as well as a steering committee (formed in 2002) to set priorities. Additional staff at Dorena includes several biological scientists to assist with data analyses on genetics and resistance projects, foresters, biological technicians, computer specialists, maintenance workers, and an administrative assistant. We receive administrative support through the Umpqua National Forest.

In the early 1990's several new programs were added at Dorena, including the Phytophthora lateralis resistance program for Port-Orford-cedar, containerized seed orchards for western larch, and common garden studies to study genetic variation. The regional tree climbing standards were refined and became national standards. In the 1990's, several new greenhouses and a facility for rooting cuttings of trees, as well as raised beds for common garden studies were added.

Through breeding and development of native tree species to non-native invasive pathogens, seed store management, production of seed for regeneration needs, and training workshops the Dorena Genetic Resource Center provides leadership and significant services in the Pacific Northwest Region's genetic resource and forest health protection programs.