On November 27, the 2014 sale of 788 acres of the Elliott State Forest was deemed illegal by the Oregon Supreme Court. Their decision upholds a 2018 ruling from the Oregon Court of Appeals.
In a release, Noah Greenwald of the Center for Biological Diversity said “This ruling affirms that the state should never have sold these beautiful public lands. The Elliott State Forest is a treasure to all Oregonians, providing critical habitat to coho salmon, marbled murrelets and people alike.”
Greenwald’s agency was one of three to initiate the lawsuit, along with the Audubon Society of Portland, and Cascadia Wildlands.
Prior to 1913, the East Hakki Ridge parcel was part of Siuslaw National Forest. By selling it to Seneca Jones Timber Company, the suit argues, the state violated a 1957 law forbidding the sale of any former national forest land.
In 2017, the State Land Board voted unanimously to cancel the deal. The College of Forestry at Oregon State University and State Treasurer Tobias Read have proposed purchasing the land for use as a research forest.
“Oregon’s highest court has spoken, and it is illegal for the state of Oregon to sell off the treasured Elliott State Forest,” said Josh Laughlin, executive director of Cascadia Wildlands. “Those who appreciate clean water, stately forests and access to our public lands are the big winners today.”
By Brandon Urey