Elliott State Forest
Oregon’s only old-growth State Forest is on the chopping block. In February, two of the three members of the State Land Board voted to sell the Elliott State Forest to a private logging company to be clearcut, but the decision is not yet final. Concerned Oregonians like you still have chance to speak up and keep this public treasure in public hands.
The Elliott State Forest is 82,000-acres of publicly owned forest in Oregon’s Coast Range just north of Coos Bay that has historically been logged to provide funding for Oregon’s Common School Fund. Tying logging revenue to school funding was envisioned at a time when old-growth forest and wildlife seemed limitless, but after a century of unsustainable logging practices this program is increasingly in conflict with Oregon’s modern conservation values. Today only 41,000 acres of the Elliott’s old-growth forest remains, making the public forest one of the largest uncut areas left in the Oregon Coast Range.
The Elliott is an ecological treasure and it belongs to all Oregonians. Surrounded on three sides by industrially managed tree plantations and clearcuts, the Elliott provides an island of critical habitat for numerous imperiled species such as the marbled murrelet, northern spotted owl, elk, and several kinds of salmon. In fact, 22% of all wild Oregon Coast Coho salmon originate in the Elliott’s rivers and streams! The old-growth trees within the State Forest also help mitigate climate change by capturing and storing vast amounts of carbon, and they also improve water quality by absorbing, storing, filtering, and gradually releasing clean water into forest streams.
Recently, State Treasurer Tobias Read joined with Secretary of State Dennis Richardson to vote in favor of selling off the Elliott State Forest, rejecting Governor Kate Brown’s plan to keep the Elliott in public ownership and protect old-growth, salmon, and clean water. The people’s response to the vote was tremendous and after receiving thousands upon thousands of emails, calls, and postcards, Tobias Read shockingly reversed his position and expressed support for keeping the forest public! While this was a major win for our campaign, our work is not yet finished...
Here are four simple ways to do your part to save the Elliott from privatization:
- Call Tobias Read
(503) 378-4329 (if you have called before, call again!
Tell him you want to keep the Elliott in public hands, and that he should support the Governor’s plan
- Call both of your State Representative and State Senator
Tell them you support keeping the Elliott public and ask them to support the Trust Lands Transfer bill (SB 847)
The Oregon Legislature must pass the Trust Lands Transfer Bill (SB 847) so the state can decouple the logging of old-growth from school funding
Use Oregon’s Legislator Lookup to determine who represents you in Salem
- Join Oregon Wild’s grassroots team: Wild Ones
We meet monthly in Portland, Bend, and Eugene
We give updates on the various campaigns we work on, and we also conduct trainings on how to become a more effective advocate
- Attend the next State Land Board hearing
10am, May 9, 2017 (rally beforehand), Department of State Lands, 775 Summer St NE # 100, Salem
Portland Audubon is organizing a carpool to Salem, RSVP to save your seat: Stephanie Taylor, firstname.lastname@example.org, 971-200-4681