Two new members of Oregon’s State Land Board voted Tuesday to move forward with the controversial sale of the Elliott State Forest – despite opposition from Gov. Kate Brown.
State Treasurer Tobias Read and Secretary of State Dennis Richardson were both recently elected. They voted yes to an amended version of the sale. Read gave his reason during the meeting for pursuing the sale. Read: “I feel very strongly that when we have this proposal in front of us we can’t – I can’t – just cast it aside.” The state put the forest up for sale because it wasn’t generating enough income for public schools. Only one bid came in – offered jointly by a timber firm and an Oregon tribe. Read’s amendments would give the state the option of using bonds to buy back up to $25 million dollars of forest acreage for conservation. But Governor Brown wants to find a way to keep the forest in public ownership. And she isn’t giving up. After the vote, Brown directed the staff of the Oregon Department of State Lands to continue pursuing an option that would allow the state to keep the forest.