Solidarity Protests at Umpqua Banks;
Resistance continues at the Peak timber sale
In ongoing resistance to the replacement volume program,
statewide solidarity actions will take place at Umpqua Banks
in Portland, Eugene, Grants Pass 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
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 and East Devil sales in the Umpqua 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
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.