Local residents generate a groundswell of support for forests, rivers, and wild salmon during key campaigns.
Through our grassroots partner, North Coast State Forest Coalition, people spoke up loudly over the last few months in favor of protecting forests for the sake of salmon and rivers.
Linn County State Forest Lawsuit
Local advocates gave public testimony in Tillamook, Clatsop, Washington, Benton, and Clackamas counties to get county leaders to opt out of the Linn County clearcut lawsuit. The suit alleges that the state owes the counties more than $1.4 billion in unrealized timber harvest revenues dating back to 1998, the same year the counties all supported a consensus plan to manage state forests for fish, wildlife, recreation and clean water, as well as timber harvests.
Clatsop County voted 3-2 to opt out, making a bold statement to continue supporting forest health. Several other taxing districts followed Clatsop’s lead. Despite testimony in favor of opt-outs, Tillamook County commissioners went against their constituents and stayed in. Washington County Chair Andy Duyck did not even hold a legitimate public hearing, allowing only 10 minutes for public comment which left the majority of constituents who showed up to speak with no opportunity.
The lawsuit now moves on to the court room, where conservation and fishing groups have tried to intervene. This promises to be a long and drawn-out legal battle. But this opt-out moment has forced county commissioners to clearly articulate support for forest health.
Bigger, Better Buffers
In hearings around the state about expanding forest buffers along streams in Oregon, the majority of comments were in favor of more protective rules for logging on fish-bearing streams. Proposed rules will double the amount of forests kept standing along stream, in order to keep streams cold. But we still have work to do to live up to federal guidelines for streams.
March 1st is the final deadline for comments. If you couldn’t make it to one of the hearings but still want your voice heard, email ODF with your comments. You can get more info and talking points here.
Elliot State Forest
The Elliott State Forest near Coos Bay is taking center stage in the Oregon forest conversation.
At a December meeting, Gov. Kate Brown directed state officials to continue working on a sale of the 82,500-acre forest to the Lone Rock Timber Company and Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians.
But the governor also asked officials to explore issuing $100 million in bonds to free up the state from its obligation on the Elliott to maximize timber revenue for Oregon schools.
While the Oregon Legislature works on proposals to protect the forest over the long term, the State Land Board will take up the issue again on February 14 in Salem at a public meeting. Our partners are also teaming up to organize an Elliott State Forest Lobby Day in Salem on February 23 (see Facebook event page).