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Many people are not aware of the $1.4 billion “Linn County” class action law suit filed against the State of Oregon. Nor are they aware of the impact it could have on the place where we live. If the suit succeeds, Oregon Department of Forestry will be under pressure to operate much like the timber industry in order to squeeze more logging revenue out of state managed forests. The mandate to ODF will be to log, mostly clearcut, for greater revenue.  We will lose the goal of balance  with other “values” such as environment, species protection and recreation .

Look around you at the clearcut hills. More of this is what we would be choosing.  Oh , but wait, we don’t even have to choose.  In fact, if we say nothing, since it is a class action suit naming 15 counties including Clatsop and Tillamook, if we do not opt out, we will just silently slide right along with the pack. Incidentally this suit, although called by a county name, was backed and financed by the timber industry.

The hard truth for some of us is that the timber industry does not live with the consequence of their actions.  They do not live with hills that have been denuded and sprayed. They do not experience the effect of toxic spray in the water, the mud slides and flooding in the winter, the siltation of the streams and rivers, the dying off of wildlife and fish…and the loss of forests. We are, in fact, even forgetting what the word “forest “ means. It is not acres of homogenous trees.  A few of us were lucky enough to know forests as children, to play in them and learn from them. This is a “value” beyond money that we hope to share with our children’s children.

We still have time. Contact your County Commisioners. Ask them to opt out of the Linn County law suit. Ask them not to support a forest management policy destructive to the place where we live.

For a detailed account of this issue, see the November HipFish article by former Clatsop County Commisioner, Helen Westbrook.


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