Elliott State Forest

Oregon Department of Forestry

The State of Oregon is now looking for a buyer willing to take the Elliott State Forest off its hands, following Thursday’s vote by the Land Board to move ahead with plans to sell the public forest located near Coos Bay.

The state of Oregon is under a constitutional obligation to manage the Elliott Forest to make money for public schools. But with declines in timber sales in recent years, the state has been losing money on the land.

Oregon Department of Forestry

The Oregon legislature has just adjourned for the year, leaving some unfinished business when it comes to a state forest that’s been the subject of controversy.

Oregon Department of Forestry

The 93,000 acres of a state forest on the south Oregon coast could be sold to private timber companies.

That’s one option being considered by Oregon’s Department of State Lands, which says the forest drains millions of dollars from a trust fund that supports public education.

The Elliott State Forest has been a losing proposition for the state of Oregon. Annual management costs are about $3 million dollars more than what it brings in by selling trees to timber companies.

Oregon Department of Forestry

Logging in the Elliott has been restricted to protect a threatened seabird called the Marbled murrelet. As a result, the state is selling five parcels of the forest to make up for lost revenue.

The Audubon Society, Cascadia Wildlands and the Center for Biological Diversity say the state can't legally sell one of those parcels.

That's because the tract used to be part of the Siuslaw National Forest. The groups say Oregon has a law that prohibits the sale of state forest land if it used to be part of a national forest.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Conservation groups want timber companies to know they'll sue if an endangered seabird's habitat is threatened by logging. The groups object to the potential privatization of the Elliott State Forest in Oregon's coast range.