In March of 2016, Linn County filed a lawsuit against the state of Oregon for $1.4 billion over “mismanagement” of our state forests. It was immediately obvious that the process to find a lasting, balanced Forest Management Plan would be severely disrupted. Some of our coalition members attempted to intervene on behalf of the state, arguing that state forests should be managed for multiple values, not just timber production. Documents later released made clear that private timber companies and a lobbying firm had concocted and funded the lawsuit.
Linn County Circuit Court Judge Daniel Murphy granted class action status to the dubious lawsuit. Counties that do not want to see our state forests turned into industrial tree farms have the opportunity to opt out of the lawsuit. If they take no action, all 15 trust counties will be automatically included, implicitly supporting devastating practices on our public forests.
If the lawsuit succeeds, it will likely lead to drastic increases in industrial-style clearcutting and herbicide spraying on state forests across Oregon.
Materials related to the North Coast State Forest Coalition’s request that taxing districts opt out of the Linn County lawsuit:
Fee to County/Timber Lawyers: The $210 million figure comes by multiplying the county/timber lawyers’ percentage of a settlement (15%) by the claim of $1.4 billion. See it on page 3 of this disclosed document.
Third-party science review of the industrial timber approach that Linn County argues is mandated for state forests. The industrial timber approach is modeled as the “Timber Harvest Optimization” (THO) alternative. See series of tables (4-4 to 4-10) for estimates of direction of magnitude on many indicators.