Above: Climbers holding banner on the Golden Pioneer. After occupying the banner for almost two hours, the climbers ascended and were arrested.
Five forest defenders were arrested for taking a stand against the privatization of Oregon’s public forests
Bail for the five arrested was set at $37,500
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Two Cascadia Forest Defenders are occupying a banner dropped from the golden statue on top of the capitol building in Salem, Oregon. The banner proclaims “KITZHABER’S LEGACY: PRIVATIZING THE ELLIOTT – CLEARCUTTING FOR PROFIT.” These forest defenders were moved to action after the proposal to privatize more than 2,700 acres of public land in the Elliott State Forest. This privatization scheme follows suit with Kitzhaber’s attempts to move 1.6 million acres of O&C land into the timber baron trust where Oregon’s people would have little say in the management of these forests.
“We are protesting because we think Oregonians deserve to know that their public land is being sold to private industry. If it is privatized, we will never be able to have a say on what happens to it again. This is our public comment,” says Erin Grady of Cascadia Forest Defenders.
The plans for privatization of the Elliott include three parcels in the Western side of the Elliott State Forest. All three parcels contain sections of mature, never-before-logged forest –suitable habitat for the marbled murrelet, an endangered sea bird that nests in old growth. This summer, a group of volunteer marbled murrelet surveyors with the Coos County-based conservation group Coast Range Forest Watch, documented murrelet nesting behavior in one of these parcels, making it a candidate for protection under the federal Endangered Species Act.
We have been fighting to save old growth within the Elliott for years, with no intentions of stopping. The public comment period for the privatization of the Elliott is ongoing. Send in your comments before it is too late. Or better yet join us! We always need your support in monetary donations or meeting us on the frontline. We will continue to keep you updated here on our website as well as on Facebook.
Take action! Contact Clara Taylor- firstname.lastname@example.org at Oregon’s Department of State Lands and demand transparency on the issue of Elliott land privatization. Let her know that our ancient forests are not for sale!
More photos below.