FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 8/29/01
On the scene - Donald Fontenot, Sarah Wald Cascadia Forest Alliance - 503-241-4879
In Portland - Ivan Maluski, Cascadia Forest Alliance - 503-239-8930
Dozens of Armed and Undercover Police Greet Peaceful Protesters at BLM Timber Auction
Activists erect a tri-pod in front of BLM headquarters as camouflaged snipers patrol the roof
9 am - Salem, OR: The auctions of the Bureau of Land Managementıs (BLM) Rusty Saw and Fawn Creek timber sales this morning in Salem marks the first in an expected flood of federal timber auctions before the governmentıs fiscal year ends September 30. But a band of about 30 peaceful protesters who showed up today to demonstrate their opposition to misguided federal logging policies found the Salem BLM office in a state of ³emergency closure² and were met with an overwhelming force of well over 50 heavily armed and undercover federal, state and local police officers.
As camouflaged snipers walked the roof of the Salem BLM office, a SWAT team stood guard, and undercover federal agents photographed members of the public, activists erected a 25 foot high tri-pod structure in front of BLMıs door in a symbolic action designed to show that any logging of ancient forests on public lands will be met with determined non-violent civil disobedience and protest.
³When you think of the hundreds of millions of dollars the government spends each year to subsidize the logging of our last remaining ancient forests, its a disgrace. This kind of expensive law enforcement presence to guard a timber sale auction only adds insult to injury. Anyone who supports ancient forest protection should be outraged at our governmentıs behavior today,² said Ivan Maluski, an activist with Cascadia Forest Allianceıs end commercial loggingı campaign.
³This kind of over reaction today shows just how willing our federal government is to subsidize the timber industry at the expense of everything else - fish, wildlife, clean water, and the public,² said Donald Fontenot of the Cascadia Forest Alliance.
Recent polls have shown that 75% percent of Oregonians support complete protection for our remaining old growth forests and that over 50% support a complete end to commercial logging on public land. ³Commercial logging provides the incentive to abuse the system and target the old growth and mature native forests for cutting first,² said Maluski.
The Rusty Saw timber sale will, by the BLMıs own admission, greatly increase fire risk in the forest and only sits three miles northwest of the extremely controversial Eagle Timber Sales near Portland. By more than doubling the fuel load on the forest floor, the BLM is willing to greatly increase the fire risk in this area just to get public logs into private hands. As of 9:45 am, no one had bid on the Rusty Saw sale.
The Fawn Creek timber sale proposes to log mature Douglas Fir trees between 70 and 130 years old just three miles from the Opal Creek Scenic Restoration Area, threatening the last remaining healthy fish run for Upper Willamette steelhead and chinook. Although the BLM claims to be partially cutting,ı some areas will be cable yarded on extremely steep slopes and will look indistinguishable from a clearcut when done, elevating the risk of delivering sediment into the salmon and steelhead habitat. The Fawn Creek sale was auctioned off today, To Freres Lumber Co.
from Lyons OR.