About 25 people showed up at the downtown Eugene branch of stUmpqua Bank to protest the bank Chairman's (Allyn Ford) involvement in old-growth logging on public lands in Oregon. Allyn Ford is also the sole owner of Roseburg Forest Products which is currently logging the Peak timber sale adjcent to Crater Lake National Park. The Mazama Forest Defenders have been fighting this sale in the forest for several months and are currently having their lives endangered by Mr. Ford -- logging is taking place within 15-20 feet of one of the tree-sits. Citizens and activists from both Eugene and Cottage Grove partipated in today's event to show solidarity with the Mazamas and to demand the cancellation of Peak and other timber sales contracted to Allyn Ford including Blodgett, Winberry, East Devil, and Silver-Sturgis.
The press release for the event is below.
Hopefully someone from Ashland and other cities will post information about their rallies soon!
Statewide Solidarity Protests at Umpqua Bank
Resistance continues at the Peak timber sale; Tree-sit erected at Umpqua Bank in Ashland
Eugene protest: 12:00pm - 1:00pm 11th and Oak
As ongoing resistance to the replacement volume program increases, statewide solidarity actions will take place today at Umpqua Bank branches in Portland, Eugene, Grants Pass, Ashland and Medford. Umpqua Bank has been the target of protests due to their complicity in forest destruction. Allyn Ford, owner of Roseburg Forest Products (RFP) and Scott Timber, is chairman of the Board of Directors of Umpqua Bank.
RFP began logging the Peak timber sale on September 23, 2002. Peak is at the headwaters of the Rogue River, between Crater Lake and the Rogue-Umpqua Divide Wilderness. Peak is one of the controversial replacement volume sales in which RFP holds a contract. Other sales include the Blodgett sale in the Umpqua National Forest, East Devil/Canyon East in the Willamette National Forest and the Silver-Sturgis sale in the Rogue River National Forest.
The replacement volume program was a portion of the infamous 1995 'Salvage Rider' in which timber companies were offered old-growth timber sales in the Cascades and Siskiyous to replace cancelled second growth sales in the Siuslaw National Forest.
Last week Senator Ron Wyden sent a letter to the Under Secretary of Agriculture Mark Rey, asking him to direct the Forest Service to offer RFP second growth plantation volume instead of the remaining old-growth replacement volume sales (Blodgett and Silver-Sturgis). Mark Rey is a former timber industry lobbyist who helped write the infamous salvage logging rider of 1995. Senator Wyden noted that proceeding with controversial timber sales, like the Peak sale, will result in further polarization.
"As long as the Forest Service continues to sell mature and old-growth forests to the timber industry, people will be forced to defend their public lands," said Lesley Adams, spokesperson for Mazama Forest Defense. Alternative plantation volume has been identified for the remaining replacement volume sales, yet have not been strongly supported by the Forest Service, or accepted by Allyn Ford. Other timber companies have accepted options to get out of replacement volume sales. "Allyn Ford stands alone as the only purchaser to push ahead with controversial old growth replacement volume sales," said Adams.
Currently close to 50% of the ancient trees targeted for logging at Peak have been felled, but it hasn't been easy. Mazama Forest Defense has supported two tree-sits since July. Non-violent protests and acts of civil disobedience continue both inside and outside of the "closure area" that the Forest Service has enacted around the tree-sits and timber sale. The controversial 700+ acre closure area is overbroad, and will be challenged in court. The public and media are locked out of public lands, while reports from tree-sitters have included harassment and gun shots fired by Forest Service officials.
Resistance against the replacement volume program continues in the third week of logging at Peak. "We cannot stand aside while the last of our native forests are cleared for industry profits," said Stuart O'Neill, spokesperson for Mazama Forest Defense.