It appears that Clatsop County is engaged in a lively discussion of the benefits and consequences of the $1.6 billion Linn County class action suit against the State of Oregon. Even the mayor of Cannon Beach has taken a stand, questioning the effect this litigation would have on our forest land. And rightly so, we should be asking questions when something will directly affect the place where we live. “The people should demand an open public vote on this issue. Transparency of county legal matters is required by law.”(Roger Dorband, letter to the Daily Astorian)
But where is the discussion in Tillamook County? I am thinking, as I pick up the Headlight Herald while waiting for my sandwich to be ready. There on the front page is the genial, smiling face of Commissioner Tim Josi and the headline: TILLAMOOK WILL NOT OPT OUT OF LAW SUIT. “I would not support it,” he continues, “ If it were destructive to the environment. Environmentalist,” Josie explained, “are just playing on people’s fear in order to get donations.”
At that point I am reeling a bit and decide to get a double latte’. Well, SHAME on those evil folk, I think, for pointing out that the lawsuit is primarily paid for by the timber industry and would force Oregon Department of Forestry to manage our forest lands much like an industrial timber plantation. SHAME on them for pointing to the clear cut hills, with two trees and two logs per acre left “for the wildlife.” (First time I heard that was the way we protected our State Forest Land, I laughed. I thought it was a joke. Mentally, I kept trying to get all the animals and birds into those two trees but I couldn’t figure out where to put the frogs.)
Oh yes, I should feel especial shame since I keep harping about my fear of losing our native forests. You see, I have learned after living with them most of my life, that they are a complexity of intertwined plant and animal species—something alive, something we call “forest” something that cannot be replicated. I get emotional about it.
My latte’ came, and I still have a long mental list of those I want to name. Those folk, for instance in Rockaway Beach, who didn’t stand quietly when their watershed was polluted by toxins from surrounding clearcuts. And now they even have the audacity to talk about mounting evidence that the poisons routinely used in spraying can lead to endocrine disorders and cancers. I have even heard that some people worry about Global Warming– what happens to the earth when you destroy its forests…
In all due respect to Mr. Jose, who appears to have made up his mind as to what the county is going to do, we should be asking questions. Who benefits from this lawsuit? How will it change the management of our state forests? What would the consequences be to the place where we live? What are we leaving for our children’s children? In case you have anything you want to say to Mr. Josi, his email is firstname.lastname@example.org