As we head into a new logging season the fight for the Solo timber sale continues. Twice now Solo has been auctioned and both times CFA joined activists from all over the region to tell potential bidders "You buy Solo, you buy us!" The first time was last July when over 100 citizens gathered to express their concern. The high bidder at that auction, Thomas Creek Lumber, was denied the contract and all other bidders declined to take the sale as well. This last Feb over 50 activists once again gathered but this time there was only one bidder... Freres Lumber.
Freres Lumber Company has been around since 1922, cutting down forests to make into boards for over 80 years. The latest player in the hereditary lineup that runs the company is Robert Freres, a corporate criminal in the highest degree. And not just by the standards of righteous forest activists, either! Oh no, this guy has the stripes straight from Uncle Sam himself......
Freres Lumber company is not a good neighbor. In the late 70's Robert Freres, Freres Lumber and Freres Veneer Co. were convicted of price fixing. It seems that Robert Freres was making backroom deals with other timber barons to rig bids on timber sales in the North Santiam area of the Willamette National Forest. What was later refered to by some as the
North Santiam Conspiracy left each defendant with over 100,000 dollars in fines and landed Robert Freres with a nice stint on probation as well as being barred from bidding on sales in the
North Santiam watershed for a year. This is the same Freres
Lumber that gave over 100,000 dollars in soft money contributions to the Republican National Committee.
I guess if conspiring with your competitors doesn't work you can always buy a politician.
The Solo sale is considered one of the most egregious timber sales on Mt. Hood.
Solo will clear-cut 167 acres of old growth forests, including some of the biggest trees in the Clackamas Ranger District, and some of the oldest Pacific Yew trees in
Mt. Hood National Forest. Concerned citizens have discovered two sites now of the very rare lichen, old growth specklebelly, creating suspicion that the grove might be an ecological hotspot for the species.
Furthermore, the sale is in the Oak Grove Watershed, one of the most threatened areas on Mt. Hood. The Oak Grove watershed is currently a mix of clear-cuts and islands of remnant old growth. These patches of old growth are key reserves of biological diversity. However, the Forest Service has decided to turn the Oak Grove into an "aggregate plantation of uniform-age trees," also known as a tree-farm. Nearly 1/3 of all logging proposed for the Clackamas Ranger District targets the Oak Grove.
The planned logging in the Oak Grove threatens not only bio-diversity, but water quality as well. The Oak Grove is a fork of the Clackamas River, which provides the primary drinking water source for Lake Oswego, West Linn, and Oregon City. Solo and other Oak Grove sales threaten the drinking water supply for 185,000 Oregonians. This makes Bark's discovering of an unprotected stream running through units 12 & 14 of the sale even more disturbing.
Cascadia Forest Alliance is holding an action camp this coming weekend at the Solo. Folks will have an opportunity to learn about the
Oak Grove Watershed and why this is such an important area as well as skills ranging from how to climb to understanding forest service policy.
Even more important is the Solo rally on the 2nd Monday. There is a good chance that Freres Lumber could start logging on this day. It is important that we have as many people there as possible! Please join us at the Daily Grind @ 6 a.m. to carpool to Solo. If you have a car and are interested in giving rides
please let us know.