The Oregon Land Company, long associated with controversial developers and loggers Greg Demers and Norman and Melvin McDougal, has been using the logo of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) on its website without permission.
Oregon Land has “sustainable forestry” emblazoned across the top of its webpage, but the McDougals and Demers are associated with less-than-sustainable projects such as the clearcut logging and mining at Parvin Butte, the fire-prone Pilot Rock landfill that earned a $790,062 fine from the state Department of Environmental Quality and an attempt to get a water right to thousands of gallons a day out of the McKenzie River via the Willamette Water Company, which was ruled water speculation by an Oregon administrative law judge in 2012.
Nonprofit watchdog group LandWatch Lane County was made aware of the SFI logo on the Oregon Land website by a neighbor of one of the company’s land purchases and logging projects, who alleges the elderly owner was verbally assured the land would be thinned, not clearcut. The neighbor declined to give a name, citing concerns there could be retaliation.
LandWatch contacted SFI and wrote, “Since the Oregon Land Company is an umbrella group of Norman and Melvin McDougal and Greg Demers, who are among Oregon’s most renowned scofflaw and rapacious clearcut loggers, I question the propriety of the Oregon Land Company displaying the SFI logo. Does the Oregon Land Company have your permission to do so?”
Jason Metnick, vice president of SFI’s customer affairs, tells EW that Oregon Land did not have permission to use the logo as it did not go through the initiative’s six-month to one-year application process. Metnick says SFI asks participants to meet water quality, wildlife habitat and reforestation standards and be audited.
Many enviro groups do not think SFI has high enough standards. Doug Heiken of Oregon Wild says, “It means next to nothing, except that you paid your dues to the greenwashing PR machine.” Heiken cites the Forest Stewardship Council as “the more credible certification system.”
Oregon Land removed the logo after it was contacted by SFI. Now the only logo on the site is the Associated Oregon Loggers. Jeff Knight, Oregon Land’s president, did not respond to a request for comment before press time.