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Summary of recent events at Berrypatch tree-sit

The Berrypatch tree-sit updates have gotten a little lost on portland indymedia's rapidly moving newswire, so here's a summarized collection of what's gone up in the last week.
According to the Cascadia Forest Defenders of Eugene, protesters have been continuing to challenge the Berrypatch timber sale in the Willamette National Forest. A tree-sit has been maintained in Unit 3 of the sale since July 3, where cutting has been happening since the beginning of July. The trees that have been cut within this sale were huge ancient old-growth, alot of them around 4-6 ft. in diameter. During a cat and mouse session with loggers on Monday, July 8, one activist was nabbed by Law Enforcement, during which racial slurs were directed toward the activist by loggers. He was charged with a felony?Interfering with an Agricultural Operation?and 3rd degree Escape.

In addition to the Berry Patch timber sale at least two other old-growth sales on the Willamette National Forest being logged right now. Like Berry Patch, the "Desperado" sale is an old salvage rider sale from 1996, which exempts it from all environmental laws. Logging has resumed this year to finish up the job. Also, the remaining couple of units of the Rhody sale are being logged now. [ VIDEO footage of these sales ]

On Wednesday, July 9, logging crews were felling trees within 20 feet of the tree-sit. Meanwhile activists videotaped a spotted owl pair and a pair of fledglings in the area of Unit 3 and relayed the information to the US Forest Service. A biologist validated the presence of the owl, and activists are waiting for the acting district ranger to make a decision on whether logging should be halted to protect the owls. All this was documented by a film crew who entered the area with a press pass. Evidently the loggers did not want to let them talk with the woman in the tree-sit, but they insisted. She managed to give an interview and said she was talking with the fellers trying to persuade them not to cut the trees near her, but they claimed they were highly skilled and insisted on cutting the trees, which could endanger her life.

On Thursday, July 11, the Forest Service has refused to stop cutting in the area, claiming they issued an incidental take permit for the area back when the sale was drawn up in 1997. Therefore they are not willing to protect the Owl's habitat. Cutting is continuing today, making it clear that the "Forest Disservice" puts profits first, endangered species last.

Updates from the open publishing newswire: [ July 11 | July 10 | July 9 | July 8 | July 7 | July 3: tree-sit announcement | July 2: in-depth info on the sale ]

For more information and updates from the Cascadia Forest Defenders, also see tree-sit.org.