Statement on the Oregon Land Board’s Vote Regarding the Elliott State Forest
February 16, 2017
College Democrats at Oregon State University are greatly disappointed by the Oregon Land Board’s Feb. 14 decision to continue the process of selling the Elliott State Forest to Lone Rock Timber Management.
We are particularly disappointed by the vote of State Treasurer Tobias Read. Members of our executive board attended fundraisers with Mr. Read, and listened to him promise to protect the Elliott State Forest. His vote at the Land Board meeting to sell the Elliot is a betrayal of his campaign promises.
Although there is a constitutional obligation for the state to profit from lands in the Common School Fund, selling the Elliot is an unacceptable solution. The profit from selling the Elliott is temporary. The natural services of the Elliott are permanent. Privatizing the forest, even with deed restrictions, will threaten the endangered Marbled Murlett, contribute to climate change, and degrade biodiversity and ecosystem services.
Forests are part of Oregon’s heritage, and future generations will not look favorably at legislators, state treasurers, or secretaries of state who stand by while an 80,000-acre public forest is sold to private companies.
We urge the legislature to take action and work with Governor Kate Brown to stop the sale of the Elliott State Forest. Oregon’s natural heritage is worth more than $2,500 an acre.