Conservation groups are cheering Monday after the Joint Ways and Means Committee in Salem advanced $100 million in bonds to protect the Elliott State Forest. Eugene-based Cascadia Wildlands has been fighting for years to keep the forest from being logged.
The Elliott, an 82-thousand acre forest in southwest Oregon, has historically been harvested to produce revenue for the state’s Common School fund. It’s been losing money, so the state was considering selling off tracts of forest. In May, with urging from Governor Kate Brown, the State Land Board decided to keep the Elliott public. Cascadia Wildland’s Josh Laughlin says this legislative session has been good for conservation efforts.
“To be able to keep the Elliott State Forest in public ownership rather than see it sold off to the timber industry and clearcut is a huge environmental victory for Oregonians.”
Laughlin says he’s hopeful about development of a Habitat Conservation Plan for the Elliott. He says its home to coastal Coho salmon and a threated sea bird, the marbled murrelet.