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Occupy the Trees!

Occupying a tree in downtown Eugene. Photo by Dusk Winston.
Occupying a tree in downtown Eugene. Photo by Dusk Winston.

The trees are being Occupied. In downtown Eugene and out in the Goose Timber Sale, near the town of McKenzie Bridge, activists are “occupying the trees” as part of a “worldwide environmental protest against corporate and personal greed,” spurred by Occupy Eugene and the Cascadia Forest Defenders (CFD). 

The weeklong arboreal action, April 22- 27, has three main points, the groups say: to seek “immediate attention and reversal to global climate change, which threatens all life on Earth,” to protest “disruption of the Earth-destroying profit machines led by the richest 1 percent of the world and their government lackeys” and “ending commercial extraction from publicly held conservation lands in all nations.”

The downtown treesit went up April 22 in the Park Blocks — the first Occupy Eugene location — accompanied by speakers, music, teach-ins and food. 

More “Earth defense activities are planned in Eugene throughout the week,” organizers say, featuring speakers, musical performances, marches and rallies. “Cascadia Day,” “Animal Rights Day” and “Kids Day” were celebrated during the first half of the week. Thursday, April 26, is “Eco-feminism Day,” and April 27 wraps up the week with “Global Climate Change Awareness Day.” 

Also on Earth Day, April 22, the Cascadia Forest Defenders erected a treesit in the “Golden” portion of the Goose Timber Sale. The sit is in an approximately 150-year-old Douglas fir tree. CFD says the treesitter is Echo Glynn of Elmira, who used to visit McKenzie Bridge as a child.

The Goose Timber Sale has come under fire for what local residents say is a lack of notification of the intended logging by the Forest Service and for the “heavy thinning” that CFD says is more indicative of “industrial logging practices” and “making timber quotas than creating habitat.”

“We are calling for the immediate withdrawal of the proposed sale, and a moratorium on all logging operations on public forest in the McKenzie Bridge,” the CFD tree Occupiers say.

The Goose Timber Sale was auctioned off on April 24 to Seneca Jones Timber two days after the treesit was put up. CFD members and others protested the sale at the Forest Service office in Springfield.

Daniel Bowman of CFD says the Goose sale borders, and possibly overlaps with, another timber sale, the Horse Creek sale, which could mean the logging would have even more impact in the area. 

CFD invites the public for a picnic with the treesitter and a hike of the timber sale on Saturday, April 28. CFD says to attend the picnic, meet at noon at Harbicks on Hwy. 126, 6 miles past Blue River For more information go to forestdefensenow.com and www.occupythetrees.org