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State Land Board Votes Unanimously to Keep the Elliott in Public Ownership

Oregonians have spoken and the State Land Board listened. Thanks to all of your calls, emails, and testimony in Salem, today, the State Land Board voted 3-0 to terminate the protocol to sell off the Elliott State Forest and directed the Department of State Lands to move forward on determining how to finance and manage the Elliott as a public forest!

State Land Board Votes Unanimously to Keep the Elliott in Public Ownership

Photo by Tim Giraudier

Oregonians have spoken and the State Land Board listened. Thanks to all of your calls, emails, and testimony in Salem, today, the State Land Board voted 3-0 to terminate the protocol to sell off the Elliott State Forest and directed the Department of State Lands to move forward on determining how to finance and manage the Elliott as a public forest!

At a time when public lands are under unprecedented threat, this represents a major step forward and sends a strong message that Oregon intends to protect its public lands. Portland Audubon appreciates the leadership of Governor Brown and Treasurer Read in coming to this decision. Liquidation of public treasures like the Elliott State Forest should never have been considered and today, the Land Board made a decision that reflects the overwhelming public opposition to the threat of privatization.

Now that the cloud of privatization has been lifted, Portland Audubon looks forward to working with the state and other stakeholders to develop a permanent management strategy for the Elliott State Forest. Our analysis of both the Governor’s and Treasurer’s plans is that they both contain elements that could be part of a permanent management structure. We look forward to participating in working through the details. Portland Audubon favors an approach that would permanently and completely decouple the Elliott State Forest from the Common School Fund while retaining the entire forest in public ownership. We believe that any plan should fully protect the Elliott’s older forests and imperiled species such as Coho Salmon, Northern Spotted Owls and Marbled Murrelets.

We now turn our eyes towards the legislature and strongly support both the Governor’s and Treasurer’s proposals to bond for $100 million as a critical step in beginning to decouple the Elliott from the Common School Fund. We also urge the legislature to pass the Trust Land Transfer Bill (SB 847) which represents an important tool to address the Elliott and other Common School Fund trust lands that may have high ecological value but produce limited revenue. Please contact your representatives today and urge them to support these efforts. 

Thank you for speaking out for public lands and the Elliott!

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