Camilla Mortensen is the environmental reporter for the Eugene Weekly.
This just in from the Trans and Women's Action Camp that took place this past weekend outside of of Portland. EW will update as we get more information.
As a culmination of the annual Trans and Women’s Action Camp, activists occupied the regional Oregon Department of Forestry office. Three members of the camp have locked themselves together inside the office using modified pipes. Currently the trio is refusing to leave until the Oregon Department of Forestry revoke their support for the 2011 Elliott State Forest Management Plan.
Today is the last opportunity for citizens to comment on the plan. Activists involved in the action criticized the plan for opening up areas to logging which were previously off limits. They also criticized the plan for increasing clear cutting to boost local timber jobs while not making any decisive moves to regulate or even monitor the large timber export industry which ships logs and jobs overseas.
The Trans and Women’s Action Camp, or TWAC was formed out of a need to make space for marginalized identities that otherwise may not be represented within the broader push for environmental justice. This action is organized and carried out by women and trans identified people.
“As a trans person, my affinity with forests stems from the harsh reality that both of us are targets of oppression for merely existing. Systems of oppression such as patriarchy, homophobia, and transphobia are inherently linked to the violence towards forests such as the Elliott. I am in solidarity with all forms of resistance against the destruction of marginalized identities, human and non-human,” says Samuel Morrissey
Meredith Cocks of Portland, OR said, “It’s absolutely devastating to walk into the middle of a clearcut in the Elliott and know that after decades of fighting for forest protection this sort of logging is still accepted on public lands. This is some of our last intact coastal rainforest, a precious place that deserves our respect, not to be decimated by the ODF.”
The tree sit is down, but the effort to save the Elliott is not over, according to the Cascadia Forest Defenders. The stand-off between protesters and police ended yesterday when the three remaining tree sitters agreed to leave their 70 to 90 foot high perches. All three were arrested.
Photo courtesy Oregon State Police
CFD has vowed to use nonviolent direct action to put an end to clearcutting on the Elliott State Forest.
According to Jason Gonzales of CFD, the logging of the 86-acre Elkhorn Ranch timber sale threatens endangered species such as the marbled murrelet and northern spotted owl. CFD also says the logging would affect the seldom-seen mountain beaver.
Gonzales says the management plant that the State Land Board's management plan is considering for the Elliott's native forests would increase the number of acres to be clearcut in a year from 500 to 850, as well as add in over 200 acres of thinning.
He says that unlike other agencies that will refer to removing almost all of the trees from a timber sale as a "regeneration harvest," ODF doesn't try to hide the fact that it's cuts are clearcuts, leaving the once forested slopes bare of native trees after logging.
Many portions of Elliott's western side have never been logged, though parts were burned in a forest fire over 100 years ago, they regenerated naturally.
According to the state forest's timber sale reports, Scott Timber purchased the Elkhorn Ranch timber sale in 2009. And the sale is listed as being a clearcut.
The report from the Oregon State Police says it took twenty OSP troopers and ten Coos County Sheriff's deputies with Oregon Department of Forestry personnel to talk the three protesters out of the trees.
Breaking news via The Onion:
Nation's Climatologists Exhibiting Strange Behavior
For some reason, climatologists have been running around in an agitated state, waving their little arms and squawking about "global warming."
Wait! Who is that under the heading "climatologists typically quiet, docile"?
Art Robinson? A climatologist?
Sometimes The Onion is actually funnier than The Onion means to be. If you aren't up on Art Robinson, he's the scientist turned politician who ran against Congressman Peter DeFazio last year (and lost).
Art Robinson falls firmly into the climate-change denier camp. But he does indeed sometimes exhibit strange behavior …
Anne Finn of The Onion says including Robinson as a climatologist was not intentional. She says, "From time to time, we'll find that our articles and videos have layers to them that even we don't realize from the outset."
Reports are coming in from the Cascadia Forest Defenders that law enforcement is heading out to the Elliott to remove the protesters.
EW has calls into the Oregon Department of Forestry to confirm the recent developments.
The R-G has not made it out to cover the protest, but there is a nice story in The Coos Bay World.
Cascadia Forest Defenders continue to occupy a tree sit in the Elkhorn Ranch timber sale I the Elliott State Forest.
According to Jason Gonzales of CFD, the protesters were told they must leave the sit or be removed and face arrest at noon on July 28.
Gonzales says the tree sitters do not intend to leave until Gov. Kitzhaber meets their demands, which include ending the slaughter of the mountain beaver and stopping the logging of Oregon's native forests.
- Posted using BlogPress from an iPhone
One of the three tree-sit platforms in the Elliott State Forest was knocked out of the tree it was attached to last night by an unidentified man on a bulldozer, according to Jason Gonzales of the Cascadia Forest Defenders.
The platform was attached to a slash pile that was blocking the nearby logging road. Gonzales says a man on a bulldozer "plowed through" the slash pile causing the platform to drop out of the tree and the people sitting on it to fall.
He says the two people on the platform had back-up lines attached to the tree, which kept them from plunging to their death.
As of last night, he says, law enforcement had not been present at the protest, but might have arrived by this morning.
EW is waiting for comment from the Oregon Department of Forestry and the State Land Board in response to the blockades and tree sits and the effort to halt clearcut logging on the Elliott.
See http://blogs.eugeneweekly.com/content/action-elliott for the previous update on the Elliott protest.
According to Julie Curtis, communications manager, Oregon Department of State Lands:
The Department of State Lands is aware of the protest in the Elliott State Forest, and we are working with the Department of Forestry and law enforcement to assess the current situation. Our primary concerns are the safety of all persons involved, and ensuring the protesters are not obstructing timber sales nor damaging state property.
From Kevin Weeks, Oregon Department of Forestry
ODF is in an assessment mode on Wednesday to determine where road blockages have been established and where people may be occupying timber sales within the Elliott State Forest. Safety is our top concern, not only for those persons occupying platforms within trees but also to ensure the safety of other users of the forest and ODF personnel.
The occupation ODF is aware of is occurring in the Elkhorn Ranch timber sale. This 86-acre unit was sold in October 2009. It is primarily second-growth Douglas fir trees ranging in age from about 75 to 125 years old. It was purchased by Scott Timber Company for $ 1.27 million.
The effort to save Oregon state lands from logging ramped up in the predawn hours of July 26 when the Cascadia Forest Defenders, Earth First! and other activists put up tree sits and blockaded access to several timber sales along the west fork of the Millicoma River in the Elliott State Forest.
The Oregon Department of Forestry is planning to ramp up the logging on the native, previously uncut, forest, which is home to the Endangered Species Act-listed marbled murrelet. CFD and Earth First! are planning use direct action campaigning to stop the logging.
The protest is the culmination of a four-day “action camp” to train forest activists and support nonviolent direct defense of the coastal rainforest.
“Direct action is one of our most effective tools for creating change in this country,” says Kim Marks of Rising Tide North America. “Just ask the suffragettes, the Underground Railroad and the unions which created the eight-hour workday and ended child labor camps.” Marks led workshops on strategic campaigning and on renegade blockades at the action camp.
At 93,000 acres the Elliott State Forest is the largest original coastal forest left in Oregon, according to conservation group Cascadia Wildands, which has been working to defend the Elliott through lawsuits and public comments. The group says ODF not only plans to start clearcutting on the previously intact western half of the forest, but also the logging on the forest could increase to 1,000 acres a year.
Jason Gonzales of CFD, and one of the organizers of the action camp, says the group wants to send a message to ODF that “we’re in the fight to win.” He points out that after years of “relentless direct action” the Forest Service had to change its ways. He says that agency still has its problems, but has made vast improvements, where “ODF as an agency has been going the opposite way.”
CFD organizer Meredith Cocks called the clearcutting on the Elliott, “really atrocious,” and says “A lot of people in the group are really passionate about it.”
The camp, which was partly supported by donations from local businesses, at its height drew over 70 participants both local and from across the country. Many attendees came from the recent Earth First! Rendezvous in Montana, which culminated in a protest against Big Oil at the governor’s office that made headlines across the country.
The CFD camp, deep in the Elliott off long and winding forest roads (that got certain EW reporters a little lost), had workshops ranging from educating activists about the Elliott, to wilderness survival and tree climbing, to fighting oppression.
Participants also learned informally from chatting with more experienced activists about the nuts and bolts of living on a platform in an old-growth tree, surveying for red tree voles and other ways to protect the forests. Games were also used to train participants in running on steep slopes and through the forest’s understory.
CFD organizer Emmalyn Garrett says that the Elliott the trees of the forest are of more benefit to Oregon’s school children if left standing. The logging, she says, generates only a small percentage of school funds.
The Elliott State Forest, which is also used by Oregonians for recreation, is part of Oregon’s Common School Funds lands. A report on the Elliott by economist Eric Fruits that was presented to the State Land Board states, “Department of State Lands management of the Elliott State Forest yields returns of less than 1 percent.” The State Land Board is made up of Gov. Kitzhaber, the Oregon secretary of state and the state treasurer.
There is “a deep-seated issue of politicians and wealthy timber interests colluding to make a buck at the cost of Oregon’s future,” Garrett says. “Our group is really committed to being out here and having a sustained presence.”
The protesters have issued a list of demands, which are:
Cease all logging of native forests on public land in Oregon.
Put a moratorium on all logging and road construction in the Elliot State Forest
Halt the export of raw logs from all Oregon forest, public or private
Reject the Oregon Department of Forestry’s 2011 Implementation Plan for the Elliot State Forest.
Stop the use of herbicides and the slaughter of the native mountain beaver.
The protest includes an all-woman's tree sit, a tree sit anchored to a road and several "ground-level blocking devices."
In 2009 the Earth First! Round River Rendezvous on the Elliott also culminated with a protest on the Elliott that lasted several days and ended with almost 30 activists arrested.
Some of the camp’s attendees not involved in the current tree sit and blockades will be heading to the third Annual Cascadia Trans’ and Womyn’s Action Camp July 27 to Aug 1. For more info go to http://twac.wordpress.com/
A little more on the Earth First! Rendezvous and Big Oil protest from today's EW, but now in a multimedia format, courtesy of Rising Tide North America.
From Rising Tide:
As a culmination of the 2011 Earth First! Round River Rendezvous, climate activists including Rising Tide and Earth First!ers occupied Montana Governor Schweitzer's office to demand that he revoke support for the Keystone XL Pipeline and the megaload shipments. The pipeline would transport oil from the tar sands to international markets and the megaload shipments would bring equipment, built in Asia, to the tar sands. Both pass through Montana. Both would allow the tar sands energy project -already regarded as the most destructive industrial project on earth- to expand.
5 PEOPLE PUT THEIR BODIES AND FREEDOM ON THE LINE TO FIGHT FOR A LIVABLE FUTURE. PLEASE PUT SOME MONEY IN THEIR LEGAL FUND! http://ow.ly/5CRJz