portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reporting oregon & cascadia

forest defense | save the biscuit

More details from the lockdown at Fiddler this morning

i just got a call from an activist who was on the ground this morning during the road blockades at the Fiddler timber sale in the Biscuit. She filled me in on a few more details about what happened. Here's a summary, quickly typed from notes i took while talking to her.
The road was blockaded in not one but two places; first at the green bridge and a second time further up.

The first blockade was discovered by loggers at about 5am. Activists surmised that Silver Creek logging would be coming up to Fiddler today because it was the first working day after March 4. (Fiddler, along with six other Late Successional Reserve sales, is the subject of a lawsuit to go to court on March 22. Activists requested an injunction to prevent logging until that day, but that request was turned down. Nonetheless, it still wasn't legal to log there until after March 4, when the request for the injunction was -- according to the legal processes governing such things -- not granted.)

Two "elderly women" were arrested on the bridge. They were sitting in lawn chairs refusing to move, and had to be carried away. (Yay!) An encampment of forest advocates has been taking place near the bridge for over a week, and is still there.

The second blockade was centered on a broken-down truck. One person was locked down in the cab, to the steering wheel. Two more were locked down to the ground, under the truck, apparently with the use of "sleeping dragons", or a method like that. "Sleeping dragons" involve a tube set in concrete into the ground, into which you put your arm. You are able to lock and unlock yourself into it with the use of a caribiner or other device at the bottom of the tube.

This blockade was discovered by 9am. "30-50" supporters were also there. Among those who found the scene were forest service people, loggers, corporate media, and other law enforcement.

Eventually, the police declared the situation a "crime scene" so they could force away the locked-down activists' supporters. The person in the cab was detached and arrested.

Not everyone had to leave the area. One person who got to stay was John West, president of Silver Creek, the logging company that bought the rights to cut the Fiddler sale. (For more information on John West and Silver Creek, his illegal practices and shady past, read this article on the O2 Collective website.)

Activists approached law enforcement about the discrepancy of West being allowed to stay, and surprisingly, they went and knocked on the window of his SUV and interrupted him on his cellphone to talk to him about it. He ended up not moving. He wasn't arrested though; go figure.

The person i spoke to on the phone was among the activists who spent some time talking to him while the truck blockade was being dismantled. She described him as "conversational" with "a great smile and a nice laugh; he's a politician". (That last part is an insult in my book.) He didn't feel there was anything wrong with logging protected old growth trees, saying that the area "is going to burn eventually anyway" according to timber company scientists and describing the stand of environmentalist scientists as not objective. When told that the timber scientists only see things through "the lens of profit" he replied that the environmental scientists only see things "through the lens of not cutting" so he's not going to pay attention to them.

Eventually, law enforcement brought in a vehicle to tow away the broken-down truck. Instead of removing the activists first, however, they started jacking up the truck with the individuals still underneath. These individuals, seeing the sketchiness of this situation, and feeling that their safety was in danger, voluntarily disengaged themselves from their positions and were arrested. Seven others were arrested there, too.

At one point, four loggers with chainsaws walked around the blockade and headed up to one of the units to set about their murderous task.

The caller i spoke to also related an incident she did not witness, but heard about: Apparently, someone delayed the departure of the police van full of arrestees by locking down to it, but escaped before being captured. (Yay!)

More stories and perhaps photos will be posted here to this site as they are produced. Stay tuned!


The caller said that folks in the Biscuit would love more help! They need more people down there, as the encampent is still underway. Come down prepared for anything.

If you can't come down, both the Forest Service and Columbia Helicopters have offices in Portland that would be appropriate places to protest (in the same spirit as the blockades: non-violently).

For more info on how to get involved, call the recently set-up support number: 541-659-2682

heard a rumor 08.Mar.2005 01:02


I don't know if the rumor is true or not....maybe someone who knows will eventually respond....

Scuttlebutt says that a bunch of the trees in that area have been spiked in the last 6 or 8 months.

Spiking, if I understand right, is driving a big nail or length of sharpened rebar into a tree thus making it vary dangerous to run through mill (Saw blades would shatter, send fragments flying, could hurt people, damage equipment more).

I sure don't like the cutting of old growth; the guy's statement that 'it'll all burn eventually' or somesuch is pretty screwy. But I am not sure I like the idea of a mill worker getting hurt by a saw hitting a spike in a tree, either.

This has been a problem in other forests, too. Do the mills have some way of detecting a metal spike driven into a tree before it gets to the saws? If not, maybe the logging should be halted by the mills while the spiking rumor is checked out, for the safety of the millworkers. This has been done before, from what I've been able to read.

my 2 sense. 08.Mar.2005 08:41


re: spiking....mills often have metal detectors around saws because metal tends to get mixed with trees during the process....

in defense of forests,


What can everyone do? 08.Mar.2005 09:33


I cant be down there right now and feel useless - Is there anything I can do to help? Does anyone have the phone number for the po po station or for the forest service office down there. Maybe we can all call and put pressure on them to let the arrested people go. Lets brainstorm on what folks from other areas of oregon can do without going down there.

Uh huh... 08.Mar.2005 10:00


Yeah, they usually have a thing that can check even before the tree is cut to see if it's spiked. Sometimes though, trees will get spikes too high up for them to detect, so the tree gets cut and fucks up mill workers instead of loggers. I have heard tell of ceramic spikes being used that can't be detected. They'll stop a chainsaw, but I don't think they are supposed to be able to mess with blades in the mill.

hmm 08.Mar.2005 11:19

im not sure

"But I am not sure I like the idea of a mill worker getting hurt by a saw hitting a spike in a tree, either. "

I'm pretty sure that in most modern mills the work is automated, and workers are protected behind protective windows and whatnot. I could be wrong about that, and i'd be happy to hear if i was.

on note of treespiking, those who use this technique, by hammering in a 60 penny (60d) nail (about 6 inches long, which are available at hardware stores) into a tree (or a larger 1 foot helix (spiral) spikes for bigger trees using a small sledge hammer), do exponentially more damage to logging companies than inneffective road blocks (not saying that there cant be effective ones, but these ones obviously did not halt any logging).

Also, those who practice tree spiking know to spike as high as possible, to prevent the loggers themselves from being harmed, leaving only the saw blade at the mill to deal with the nails. Other tree spikers may use home made ceramic spikes to avoid being found by metal detectors. On top of all that, most tree spiking is done years before logging, as soon as plans are announced to sell off the lumber, to prevent people from wanting to log in the first place.

Many who practice this abhorent tactic have learned in detail how to prepare for treespiking and other means of defending the wild, execute the actions, and get away without being caught in the book ECODEFENSE by Dave Foreman and Bill Haywood, and knew that when they purchased this book (or materials for their abominabal crimes), they should not use credit cards or checks, to avoid leaving a paper trail.

Where to find and purchase safely the book "Eco Defense" 08.Mar.2005 12:21


Eco Defense by Dave Foreman and Bill Haywood and other forest defense books can be found at
Laughing Horse Books and Video
3652 SE Division
Portland Oregon 97202

Silver Creek 08.Mar.2005 14:21

down with Allyn Ford

just wanted to remind everyone that Silver Creek Logging, currently logging in the Biscuit area, is a subsidiary of Roseburg Forest Products, owned by Allyn Ford who is also Chairman of the Board of Umpqua Bank. There's even an Umpqua Bank in Arcata, CA and several throughout Oregon.
Plenty of places to direct protests at...

The Truth about Tree-Spiking 08.Mar.2005 15:28

Jane Doe

Only one worker has ever been injured by a spike in a tree. It happened in a Sonoma County, CA sawmill in 1985. The worker was interviewed shortly after the incident, and he blamed the mill management for failing to protect workers from all kinds of flying debris, and ignoring safety standards. The spike, incidentally, was not placed by an enviro activist - it turned out to be the work of a local landowner who was angry his property values would be affected by the clearcut.

Since 1985, sawmills have been forced to upgrade their safety shields to protect workers. Rocks, nails, metal fencing, and all kinds of objects can damage a saw blade, and structural defects also cause blades to break.

But industry has used the incident to fuel a massive fear-mongering campaign against tree-spiking "terrorism", and it seems even environmentalists have swallowed the line that spikes have injured or even killed dozens of workers. This is propaganda. There is no truth to it, aside from the incident above. The fact is that dozens of forest workers die every year, mostly from preventable accidents, and the companies are not concerned because it's not cost-effective to further improve safety standards. Here in British Columbia, two workers are killed every month - 25 per year - falling trees, bucking, loading, and milling. An industry spokesperson was quoted in a business magazine last year as saying that wasn't a problem. Two workers a month is an acceptable level of mortality.

People who spike trees are not trying to hurt workers. The spiked trees have to be screened with metal detectors, which slows the logging down, costs the company money, and devalues the wood. Spikes also send a clear message that environmentalists are not just passively trying to defend the forest. People are willing to use every tool in the book and won't back down. Tree-spiking works as a deterrent to future logging, and it hurts the company in their profits. That's why there's so much unjustified hysteria over the dangers of tree-spiking; not because companies want to protect workers, but because it's effective economic sabotage.

Keep up the good work!

What You Can Do To Help 08.Mar.2005 16:29


Hey ya'll, thanks for the support!

Two things that come to mind if you want to help:

1. Come down to the Green Bridge! Don't be sorry you missed the action! This is just the beginning. The Green Bridge encampment is ongoing and legal. Join us to help monitor and document logging activities, bring food and water donations, organize more actions, etc.

2. Call the Forest Service AND RON WYDEN. The latter is an elected official who claims to support old-growth protection. But when it gets down to it, he says a lot, and does little. Call him and demand that he make a statement against logging in old-growth reserves before a court can determine if it legal or not! The court case does not begin until March 22! They began logging the Fiddler AND Berry old-growth reserve timber sales on March 7!

The Green Bridge is located a few miles up the Eight Dollar Road which leads into the Babyfoot Lake Trailhead entrance to the Siskiyou Wildlands, (also known as the Fiddler Late Succesional Reserve timber sale). Frome Grants Pass, take Hwy 199 west about 25 miles between Selma and Kerby, then turn right on Eight Dollar Road. Proceed until you get to the Green Bridge.

For more background on this issue and the campaign see www.o2collective.org.
 Laurel@o2collective.org (541) 301-8963

More on the subject of spiking 08.Mar.2005 16:42

Jane Doe

A fair and balanced look at tree-spiking - dispelling the myths.
Check it out:  http://victoria.indymedia.org/news/2004/04/24412.php

Silver creek , RFP, and Colombia 08.Mar.2005 17:51


I don't believe it's been verified proof-positive that Silver Creek is a subsidiary of Roseburg Forest Products. Not that Umpqua Bank doesn't deserve protests, but I don't want to see false claims. Fact of the matter is "who owns silver creek" is a mystery, and a proprietary secret. There is no doubt Silver Creek is a front from somebody though, since they didn't exist before the biscuit logging began, and they have tons of money, and only 2 employees.

Their loggers however have typically been Colombia helicopter contractors, and Colombia Helicopter is based in Portland. Columbia also underwrote much of the progagandistic right-wing science analysis that created various weak arguments for the legitimacy of the logging project.

My point is, if you're picking a corporate target go for Colombia!

More that you can do 08.Mar.2005 18:19

Cascadia Rising EcoDefense action--at--cascadiarising.org

Tell everyone you know that doesn't have a job, or can take a week or so off work to get down there. Contact Cascadia Rising EcoDefense locally, for ride information 503-493-7495 / action--at--cascadiarising.org

If you don't get email updates from Cascadia Rising about NW forest defense and activism contact us and get on our email list! email action--at--cascadiarising.org

tactics.... 08.Mar.2005 21:05

reposter of someone

from a debate on this subject written by someone whose followed the topic for close to 20 plus years...

The only known injury from tree-spiking I ever heard of in 35 years of living in Mendocino County, CA came in a May 8, 1987, incident in the Louisiana Pacific mill at Cloverdale(Sonoma County). A 23 year old mill worker named George Alexander was nearly decapitated, and was seriously maimed, when the mill's big, high-speed bandsaw blade shattered when it hit a spike in log. The timber industry, and LP in particular, got a lot of PR mileage out of that one, portraying EF! as murderous extremists for advocating tree-spiking.

Subsequent investigations revealed the spiker wasn't even an environmentalist, let alone an EF!er. He was a libertarian from Southern Cal who got mad and spiked some trees because of what he saw LP loggers doing to the forest in a second-growth clearcut adjoining the land where he was camped out, with the owner's permission. It was on Cameron Ridge, the south side of the Navarro River where it hits the ocean in Mendocino County just south of the town of Albion.

LP wanted to pay George Alexander, the injured worker, to go around the country denouncing EF!, to be the poster boy for tree-spiking victims. He refused and instead blamed LP for not providing a safe workplace. A June 21, 1987 story in the San Francisco Examiner by Eric Brazil reports George said the saw was old, wobbly and cracked, and was due for replacement the next day. "I've been complaining about the saw for two weeks," he said. He said the saw had been hitting some kind of metal "about four times a week" since he had taken the job the previous fall. The article said that "Foreign material in trees--old spikes driven by settlers and campers, rocks, insulators--is fairly common."

Judi Bari interviewed George on her KZYX radio show in the early 1990s sometime, and I probably have a tape of it, but it would be hard to locate. George said that LP didn't provide any shielding or other protection for the off-bearer, the job he was doing, which involves hooking the slabs cut off by the pass of the log past the bandsaw and guiding them onto a conveyor. The saw frequently hit hard objects, so there was always the potential for injury, and safety shielding for the offbearer was needed, tree-spiking or no.

Sheriff Gary Philp of Humboldt County testified in the Judi Bari vs. FBI trial in 2002 that in his long decades of experience in the sheriff's department he had heard a lot of talk about tree spiking, but he didn't know of a single instance of it actually being done. Tree spiking has been a felony in California since 1875, the Examiner story said.

In today's Orwellian political climate, where the public is cynically manipulated by use of fear, the use of tree-spiking is playing right into the hands of the Neo-cons and the long campaign by unWise abUse movement founder Ron Arnold. Arnold has been working over 10 years to make "ecoterrorism" part of the ordinary vocabulary of the media and law enforcement. The FBI now uses the term on its website, and FBI spokespeople have been quoted in the press saying "ecoterrorism" is the most dangerous threat of domestic terrorism in the U.S. today.

Do Something 08.Mar.2005 21:57

Jane Doe

Thanks for the detailed history of that sawmill case.

It's worth pointing out that the use of *any* kind of resistance is playing right into the hands of neo-cons. I say, if it pisses them off, it qualifies as real resistance. I measure my effectiveness in part by how often I get called a terrorist. The amazing thing is - the neo-cons aren't the ones trying to shut me up about tree-spiking, it's the environmentalists. I'm not an organizer or a front-line campaigner, I just do alternative media - but I'm under so much pressure to censor myself about tactics it's ridiculous. Shit happens, and I'm here to talk about it. I won't pretend shit's not happening when it is. People are angry about the destruction of the natural world, and some resist with spikes and arson. We can talk about the damage done by those tactics ad infinitum, but it goes without saying that the real issue is the devastation of thousands of living things caused by chainsaws and bulldozers. IMHO folks who disregard that fact and focus on denouncing "ecoterrorists" aren't helping the movement at all. They're trying to suck up to neo-cons. How effective do you think that will be?

in reference to spikings... 09.Mar.2005 11:00

some kid

I feel there to not have been spikings. There is an underground direct action group here planing every intricacy of the direct action, and there has been no mention of spikings. Maybe another group did it, but no sign has been put up, which leads me to believe that it hasn't happened, or the people who did it are quite a bit more militant than I like to associate myself with (i.e. the loggers aren't our enemies, the logging bosses are. secret spikes will hurt the loggers).

As for spiking being ineffective, if you dig them in deep enough, most metal detectors won't find them... also, there are spikes made of high density ceramics or quartz. Besides, even if they find them all, it'll sketch the workers out for a few days and keep them from logging and will make the company come in and spend several days with high-tech machinery.

Roseburg Pacifist.-NOT PACIVE 09.Mar.2005 16:44


I'm from Roseburg, home of Roseburg Forest Products. I would guess that at least 60% of my family works or has worked in one of the mills in Roseburg.(coming from a huge irish family, thats a whole lot.) To address the issue of wether or not RFP owns sylver creek or not, is not an issue. Roseburg Forest Products cuts hundreds of thousands of acres of land each year in southern Oregon alone. So protesting them or Umqua Bank is a good thing no matter if they own sylver creek or not. I wish I could be in the biscuit rite now. However I'm going to school and working, but me and my roomate are planning on taking a week off and going down there soon. I urge all of you to do the same. On the issue of spiking the trees im all for it. Im a pacifist but im not pacive. I think we need to spike more trees(trust me the mills have protection for there workers) Do more fire bombing of the logging trucks and even, here's a thought, blow the bridge. There just needs to be alot of planning ahead of time so no one gets injured or killed. REmember NON-violence does not mean NON-ACtive

Spike as many as you can 15.Mar.2005 11:46


I come from Roseburg and most all my family at least 60% has at one time or another worked for the mills there(there are many of them). Some folks (never loggers or mill workers, mostly rich neo-cons) have told me that to stand up for the forrest is to stand against loggers and mill workers. THis is Bull shit. Roseburg Forest Products only cares about money and how to make the most of it in the shortest amount of time. To clear cut, old growth or not, is not providing jobs for my community it is endangering them. Once we clear cut everything what will the workers do. They will be out of a job. I think that standing in defence of the Forest is also standing in defence of my family and community. Also It does not matter if Roseburg Forest Products owns silver creek or not they are still a horrible company that cuts countless acres of forest every year and it would be a good thing to protest them. I wish I could be in selma right now, but I cant, perhaps in a week or so, but for right now I stand in solidarity with the forest defenders. I would like to see more radical shit though. more spiking, perhaps some fire bombing of logging trucks, and here's a thought blow the bridge. I know people live past the bridge and this would creat a problem for them, but what kind of home will they have once all the forest are gone and mud slide happens and takes out there home. However we must always remember that it is not the loggers at falt, they are doing something horrible and there is a place for personal responsibility, but we must keep in mind they are just victims of a greater evil that we are also victims of, CAPITALISM AND CORPRATE GREED. I'm sure everyone is tired of my rambling so I will stop! But I urge everyone to do there part to protect our mother earth, and ourselvs from the Greed!