This is the funky sign I made for the vigil at Short Sands beach Saturday. That was before I found out we were supposed to be very low key and informational and no outside signs were allowed.  But who should usher me into a parking spot in the crowded Short Sands parking lot but Tom Bender. (Being at the vigil was one way Tom celebrated his birthday on Saturday. )  Out-law that he is, Tom had a vehicle full of amazing signs that were right on target.

So I was immediately “signed” in. My sign said STOP FOREST POISON SPRAYING.  I hope you read Glenna’s excellent account of the day—and also Roger Dorband’s article in HIPFISH about the use of herbicides in our forests.  The facts are pretty stark.  The Oregon coastal forests are rapidly being clearcut.  After a clearcut, herbicides (which contain derivatives of Agent Orange) are sprayed on the barren land. These herbicides kill everything—not only plants but birds, fish, insects, the soil–basically the whole ecosystem that nature has so carefully designed.

And this is not all that happens. If you live here, you know nothing “stays put.” The air moves in unpredictale winds, the earth moves in slides and siltation, the water moves, and moves everything with it. There is no way to spray herbicides on a clearcut 1/3 mile from Short Sands Beach, as Weyerhauser intends to do, and not have the toxins affect the air and water.  To many of us who live here, this is Sacred Land. To the innocent tourist, it is pristine beach in beautiful Oregon where they can take their children and dogs to romp and play. Yet the Oregon Forest Practices Act makes it legally possible for a timber company to spray toxins right over the headwaters and rivulets that feed into the creeks and ocean at Short Sands.

As you probably know the effects on the human body of these toxins is often cumulative, which, of course, makes “proof” of danger difficult. Yet abundant evidence exists that Agent Orange DID harm those exposed to it in Viet Nam by showing up, even years later, in a variety of cancers. We also have evidence that herbicides used in Oregon forests disrupt the endocrine system and create an increase in miscarriages.  I was diagnosed eight years ago with a blood cancer.  I thought spraying DDT with my grandfather was a lot of fun. I got to ride the tractor, and it was such a boon, killed a lot of problems in his peach orchard.  Later, my husband, a pharmacist, sprinkled DDT powder on the bed sheets to get rid of fleas. It did.

I am very grateful to the Citizens of Rockaway Beach for Watershed Protection for organizing the vigil at Short Sands on Saturday.   Their courage and vigilance comes from a deep knowing of what it means to have the waters and land around you destroyed and polluted.

This event will happen again. Listen for announcements. I would love to see the whole front side of the parking lot at Short Sands with people holding Tom’s amazing signs. It is time to stand up for the sacred land all around us.  We have an excellent example of how to do this given to us by the Native Peoples.  Go to website: SAVESHORTSANDS.ORG     to find out more about the dangers to Short Sands Beach.


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