I woke up before the sun rose yesterday morning, to the sound of heavy machinery rumbling on the forest road (FS 5875) near where I slept beneath stately old cedars in Unit 2 of the sale. It took me a moment to realize this was not the usual early morning parade of heavy machinery going to work on the railroad - this convoy was stopping right at the head of the trail into the unit. I snuck up to near the road and heard car doors slamming and voices shouting back and forth. I heard the words "spur road" and "crop unit boundaries" before I ran back to where other folks slept on the ground. They woke up and were scurrying into the trees in moments. I got out the camcorder.
And out of nowhere come a cadre of loggers, chainsaws slung over their shoulders. From the other directions, two Freddies (saying forest service law enforcement officers is just waaaay too respectful for their ilk, eh?) come hurtling over a log. One is the infamous Burckel (hell if I know if I spelled that right), and he shouts: "This is a logging operation! If you interfere, YOU - WILL - BE - ARRESTED!" He was followed by an oddly familiar looking man with a mustache who greets me like he knows me. And lo and fucking behold, he does. He showed up in the units two days prior with a bicycle claiming to be "interested in what we were doing to save the forest." Damn sketchy man was, indeed, a spy!
The Freddies went on their way, and immediately the loggers began cutting some of the beautiful cedars that inhabited the top of Unit 2. I stood less than five feet away from one logger (named Frank) as he bore down into the cedar's old trunk with his saw. I screamed. I cried harder than I had in months. I pleaded. The only response I got was a face-full of wood chips spraying into my eyes, nose, arms... Then a cracking I could feel in my chest... Then the fall. The forest's floor shook like an earthquake. I screamed obscenities I don't remember. Then they moved on to the next tree, seemingly oblivious to my dangerously (for me, anyway) close proximity. Every time a tree fell, the forest echoed with the screams of my comrades.
Being so in-their-face, of course, eventually brought me to the Freddies' attention, and I was quickly handcuffed and pushed out of the unit to the road. I was pushed up against a silver SUV with sickeningly appropriate vanity plates; they read: "FALLER." I was instructed that I must leave the area and not come back, or I would be arrested. So, of course, I stormed down the mountain via the road, then bushwhacked my way back into the units, up a mountainside. The chainsaws that were ripping the massive douglas firs of Unit 1 and the great, horrible bulldozer punching in the new road hid the sound of my boots crunching on salal. Just as I arrived in the unit, though, and attempted to communicate with folks in the canopy, I was spotted by Ranger Casey. I tripped in a clumsy and fatigued attempt to get away, and there I was, in handcuffs again. I was crying again; Unit 1 was lost. As I was led out of the forest (again), I saw one of my masked comrades doing loop-de-loops around a traverse line. I raised my handcuffed hands behind my back and shouted, "I think this time it's for good!" The defenders in the trees yelled "I love yous," and one comrade in the sit raised a fist.
Then I was really arrested.
I got taken to Lane County Jail and was charged with a Class A Misdemeanor, "Interfering with an agricultural operation." The conditions of my release from jail are stringent: Do not leave the state; Report in person at the jail daily; Do not be in or around the area of the "alleged incident."
So I'm banned from the place I was beginning to call "home." Banned while they destroy it. Oh well - at least I gave them hell while I could. Today they are probably trying to log the beautiful cedars of Unit 2. I have faith that the warriors out there will hold them off with all they've got, fighting till the end.
And so I put a call out to anyone who considers themselves a lover of all things wild and free: GO TO STRAW DEVIL. Go fight. Go stand up (or climb up!) against the fucking mindless machine and try to save what's left of the little bit of native forest we have left. We have nothing left to lose and everything to gain from this fight.
Love to all forest warriors!
Love to the goddamn bear!
PS - And call that wanker Rick Scott (the district ranger behind this mess) and let him know what you think. You can reach him at 541-782-5320 or 541-782-2283.