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Valentine’s Forestland Ruckus

Nothing says love like a good protest. Conveniently enough the most recent State Land Board (SLB) meeting took place on Valentine’s Day and more than 60 protesters showed up in Salem with cards and cakes to let the SLB know that the Cascadia Forest Defenders and other conservationists want state forests to be better mananged. 

CFD, which says that since polite requests have been ignored it will now encourage “rowdiness” to get its point across, announced its plans for the rally Feb. 3 by dumping a load of dead Christmas trees in the driveway of the governor’s mansion and holding up a banner with a heart on it. The SLB is made up of the governor, secretary of state and state treasurer. 

The SLB governs about 1.6 million acres of state land and resource assets, including agricultural, rangeland and forestland, including the Clatsop, Tillamook and Elliott state forests. Income from these lands goes to the Common School Fund.

The protest, as well as public comments, centered on the SLB’s recent decision to dramatically increase clearcutting on unlogged coastal rainforests and to sell portions of public land into private ownership. According to CFD member Grace Warner, Gov. Kitzhaber responded to the concerns over the sale of the public lands by saying the lands lacked conservation value.

The protest, which took place both outside the meeting and inside during the public comments, included singing about breaking up with the governor to the tune of “Killing Me Softly,” the singing of “Happy Birthday” to Oregon and the presentation of a cake, and at least two protesters stripping for the governor. Warner says security stepped in between the disrobers and the politicians, preventing the SLB from getting much of a view.

Warner “mic checked” the governor during her public comment slot, saying “there are no schools on a dead planet.”