Yesterday, via the Register-Guard:
Oregon’s new state treasurer and new secretary of state teamed up Tuesday to vote for the potential sale of the Elliott State Forest, rejecting Gov. Kate Brown’s recently revealed plan to keep public the 82,500-acre forest near Coos Bay.
Brown expressed frustration about the Tuesday vote.
“Having heard from hundreds of Oregonians and after long deliberation, it is clear to me that it is in the best interest of Oregonians to ensure public ownership of the Elliott State Forest for future generations,” she said. “Retaining the Elliott as a state asset is the proper exercise of the fiduciary responsibility of the state.”
The forest includes habitat for northern spotted owl and marbled murrellet, a pair of federally protected birds, as well as coho salmon, a federally protected fish.
Sean Stevens, Executive Director of Oregon Wild made the following statement:
Oregon has long prided itself on its environmental pedigree, touting its conservation leadership. This perception, some might say mythology, that is loudly proclaimed by our politicians at every available moment was dealt a heavy blow today when Democratic Treasurer Tobias Read joined with Republican Secretary of State Dennis Richardson to sell off the Elliott State Forest. The final decision was kept open by Governor Kate Brown, who has reversed course in the last week and come out strongly for a public option for the Elliott.
But a greater problem remains.
Oregon Democrats like Tobias Read have for years run campaigns around their environmental bona fides, only to continue to allow the state to fall further and further behind when it comes to environmental protections. Today’s vote underscores that when it comes to timber interests and public lands, Oregon Democrats are willing to look the other way. Like coal is to West Virginia, clearcut logging is to Oregon.
Combined, Read and Richardson received $13,000 from the logging interests trying to purchase the Elliott State Forest, not to mentioned tens of thousands more from the industry at large.
The deal is supposed to be finalized by the end of the year. Get involved with local conservation organizations to try to help #SaveTheElliot.