During the wee hours of the morning on Feb. 10, members of Cascadia Forest Defenders used dead Christmas trees to block the driveway of the governor’s mansion in Salem.
The protest at Gov. John Kitzhaber’s house was to call attention to an upcoming meeting of the State Land Board as well as to what the protesters say are damaging environmental practices on state forests, including selling off state forestland to private interests. CFD members have objected to the land board’s dramatic increase in clearcutting on the Elliott State Forest and have had a series of protests and treesits.
In addition to the pile of Christmas trees, silky pink and purple bandana-wearing protesters held banners reading, “Rally at the State Land Board Meeting Feb. 14” and “Kitzhaber lies. Forests die.” The land board banner, in honor of the fact the meeting is slated for Valentine’s Day, had pink writing and a big red heart.
One protester from Eugene was arrested for third-degree criminal mischief and “offensive littering.”
Ben Jones of CFD says the dead Christmas trees were used to visually call attention to the effects of clearcutting “but we weren’t about to cut down any trees.”
Jones says the banner proclaiming “Kitzhaber lies” is in reference to what he and CFD members call the governor’s hypocrisy in campaigning as an environmental candidate but approving a plan that calls for clearcutting 1,000 acres a year of previously unlogged coastal rainforest.
Eugene-based conservation group Cascadia Wildlands, along with the Center for Biological Diversity and Audubon Society of Portland, has filed a lawsuit that alleges the clearcutting and forest practices on the Elliott, Tillamook and Clatsop state forests are “harming, harassing and otherwise leading to the demise of the federally (endangered species) protected marbled murrelet, which comes inland to nest and breed in mature and old-growth forests.”
CFD will have a rally at the next land board 10 am Tuesday, Feb. 14, at the state offices at 775 Summer St. NE in Salem to “tell Kitzhaber that we won’t let our forests be destroyed without a fight.” For more information go to www.forestdefensenow.com