Scheduled Forest Memorial Service to Mourn Old-Growth Trees Cut by OSU

A public Forest Memorial Service to mourn the death of the old-growth forest grove that Oregon State University’s College of Forestry clear-cut in May will be held Sunday, October 20, at 3:00 p.m., at the Rotary Shelter in Willamette Park.

OSU’s Spring Creek Project and the Friends of OSU Old Growth are the event organizers.

The “No Vacancy” cut, which occurred near Corvallis in the McDonald-Dunn Research Forest, destroyed 16 acres of ancient trees, including at least one Douglas fir dating to Shakespearean times – 1599.

“The event will honor the forest that was so suddenly taken from us, and help mourners find some solace and meaning as they face the loss of so many soaring trees and small, singing lives,” says Carly Lettero, Program Manager of the Spring Creek Project. “In a time of sorrow and bewilderment, it will be good to come together.”

The 45-minute program is slated to include music by soloists from the Corvallis Youth Symphony, songs by the vocal group Absolute Harmony, poetry from Oregon’s Poet Laureate Kim Stafford, a meditation by essayist Kathleen Dean Moore, and a benediction by children. Jill McAllister, minister of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Corvallis, will lead the memorial service. Cider and donuts will follow.

“The cutting of these ancient trees has caused a deep wound in our community – one that will last for generations,” says Doug Pollock, the founding director of Friends of OSU Old Growth.  “This ceremony is not about politics or forestry practices; it’s about a community coming together to express our profound sadness about what has been lost.”

At a later date, a memorial plaque will be placed on the stump of a 420-year-old tree, quoting Wangari Maathai: “We are called to assist the Earth to heal her wounds and in the process heal our own.”

The OSU College of Forestry now plans to spray the area with herbicide and burn the piles of broken trees. Whether the cut was authorized by the COF management plan or College administration is the subject of controversy. In emails to the College, Interim Dean Anthony Davis called the cut “a mistake.”

Please contact the Spring Creek Project with questions or for additional information.

About the Spring Creek Project:

The Spring Creek Project is an initiative affiliated with Oregon State University. According to their press release, they engage in the most daunting and urgent environmental issues of our time. It is a convening organization that sponsors writers’ residencies, readings, lectures, conversations, symposia, and other events on issues and themes of critical importance to the health of humans and the environment.

About Friends of OSU Old Growth:

Friends of OSU Old Growth is a group of concerned citizens based in the Corvallis area. They seek to bring awareness to the need to protect the remaining old trees and forests on lands managed by Oregon State University. The group formed following concern over the May 2019 clear-cut incident and the threat of future cutting of OSU’s old-growth trees.