Over 100 attend BLM Timber Sale Auction
Over 100 protestors, from Ashland,Cave Junction, Williams, Grants Pass, Roseburg, Eugene, and Portland gathered to oppose the sale of 6 major timber sales by the Medford BLM on Thursday, November 29th.
On Thursday, November 29th, over 100 protestors gathered at 8:30 am at the Jackson County Expo in Central Point Oregon, to oppose the sale of six major timber sales by the Medford BLM. These sales totaled over 38 million board feet of wood volume from almost 4,000 acres of public forest land.
Carpools arrived from Ashland, Cave Junction, Williams, Grants Pass, Roseburg, Eugene and Portland, Oregon, filled with concerned residents intent on demonstrating the public's opposition to the sale of these public forests. They brought colorful banners and butterfly costumes.
The morning began with protestors perched along the driveway, creating a tunnel of opposition through which the potential buyers were forced to drive. Signs reading "Public Land not Private Profit," "This is a Peace-Full Protest," and "End Old Growth Logging" carried the message. Protestors additionally attempted to speak to the potential purchasers, often through closed car windows.
In some cases people stepped momentarily in front of the cars, slowing the procession towards forest destruction. The people gathered to oppose the sales were well aware that thousands of acres of ancient forest were at stake.
The irony that the public was not allowed to attend the auction, at which their public forests were to be sold, was not lost to the crowd.
Since the bidders did not appear to be listening, and the BLM bureaucracy was not addressing their concerns, the protestors defiantly marched through the gates, and a row of law enforcement agents, towards the actual auction.
There, they stood outside the building, chanting, drumming, dancing, praying, and peacefully disrupting. Their chants included "We're taking a stand, no old growth logging on BLM Land" and "Let the Buyer Beware: We are here and we will be there."
When the auction was over, over 35 protestors took their message of public forest protection to Senator Ron Wyden's office in Medford Oregon.
Forests sold on Thursday morning included the Conde Shell & Poole Hill sales located 10 miles east of Ashland, which will clearcut/thin 2,300 acres of forests, including trees older than 300 years. The BLM plans to liquidate over 7,000 acres of mature forests on the Dead Indian Plateau by 2005.
The Bieber Wasson sale outside Butte Falls would extract 13 million board feet from 888 acres. New logging operations here will increase flooding and erosion in the north fork of Little Butte Creek. This creek is a key watershed for threatened salmon habitat.
In the Umpqua basin, the Mr. Wilson and Soukow sales would clear-cut 450 acres of mature and old growth forests for 10 million board feet. The remaining fragments of habitat along the Rogue-Umpqua Divide are critical to the recovery of northern spotted owl and other old growth dependent species.
The Free & Easy 2 sale, near Cave Junction was not purchased. Free and Easy 2 proposed to clearcut/thin 2 million board feet from 290 acres of low-elevation mature/OG forests in the Kerby & East Illinois watersheds. The area is habitat for numerous rare plants, red tree voles, and Coho salmon.
Purchasers of the day's timber sales included Boise Cascade (see http://www.ran.org/ran_campaigns/old_growth/) and Herbert Lumber.
The owners of Herbert Lumber, Lynn and Milton Herbert, are the largest individual stockholders of Umpqua Bank. There is currently a boycott against Umpqua Bank because the bank's Chairman of the Board, Allyn Ford, is the sole owner of Roseburg Forest Products. Roseburg Forest Products is the largest logger of public lands in Oregon and Washington as well as the holder of nefarious old growth sales such as Winberry, SLAPP, Peak, and Little River Demo. The boycott is demaning Allyn Ford cancel these old growth replacement volume sales, and cease logging public lands' old growth.
The police made 4 arrests altogether at the auction protest. 2 men were arrested at the onset of the protest, and charged with disorderly conduct. They were released and their charges were dropped at the end of the protest. As the crowd marched through the gate, the police haphazardly targeted another man for arrest. Although the man did not resist, the police subjected him to a multitude of pain-compliance holds. One protestor repeatedly stated to the officer "You are required to identify yourself. What is your name?" The officer refused. That man was also released with no charges. A fourth man was cited and released. He is being charged with a misdemeanor, regarding a fire alarm that was apparently set-off during the timber sale auction.
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