For immediate release August 15, 2011
Francis Eatherington, Cascadia Wildlands, 541-643-1309
Barbara Shamet and Wolfgang Schwarz, 541-530-7745
Conservation Group and Landowner
Seeks Halt of Elliott Forest Clearcutting
Inquiry Discovers Oregon Logging in High Landslide Area Above Private Property
Cascadia Wildlands and a concerned neighbor have called for an immediate halt to the
Oregon Department of Forestry’s (ODF) "Millicoma-Between" timber sale on the
93,000-acre Elliott State Forest southeast of Reedsport. After reviewing planning
documents, the group and landowner discovered the state of Oregon is clearcutting an
older rainforest above the landowner’s property that has been documented as a "High
Landslide Hazard Location."
The private property owners, Barbara Shamet and Wolfgang Schwarz, are concerned that
a landslide from the clearcutting operation could travel through their property. In 1996,
the landowners suffered the effects of a landslide after the state of Oregon clearcut above
Timber sale documents for "Millicoma-Between", reviewed by Cascadia Wildlands,
disclosed that if a landslide were to occur in the "Potential Debris Flow Track" leading
through the landowners’ property, it would end in the West Fork Millicoma River, a
critical waterway for endangered salmon.
"The Oregon Department of Forestry should not assume it's OK to use our property as
their landslide track,” Barbara Shamet said. "We have suffered past landslides out of state
lands as well as severe drift from their poisonous herbicide spraying."
When questions about the possibility of a landslide on the landowners’ property were
directed to the ODF, the agency failed to respond while the timber sale was being logged.
Ms. Shamet tried to talk to the timber sale purchaser directly, but when she got near the
contested area, the ODF blocked the road and threatened to have her and Mr. Schwartz
arrested, even though they were on a road that accessed the top of their own property.
In addition, the "Millicoma-Between" sale never had the usual competitive bidding
process of other timber sales. Instead, it was a negotiated trade with the logging company
without public disclosure.
According to ODF, 35 acres of the "South Marlow Switch" timber sale, also above
nearby private land, were so landslide-prone that the ODF offered the logging company
other acres due to the prospect of a landslide destroying homes. ODF traded those 35
acres of young tress, and gave the logging company 39 acres of bigger and older trees in
the "Millicoma-Between" sale. Because a landslide would only harm the
Shamet/Schwarz property, including the West Fork of the Millicoma River, and not their
actual residence, ODF deemed this exchange appropriate.
"The State of Oregon needs to reign in its reckless logging program on our public
rainforests,” says Francis Eatherington, Conservation Director of Eugene-based Cascadia
Wildlands. “The state must be more accountable to Oregonians and put human safety
The disregard for private property and older public rainforests comes at a time when ODF
wants to double the logging on the Elliott as part of its proposed Forest Management
Plan, which remains under heavy scrutiny by the public and groups like Cascadia
Wildlands. The state is expected to make a final decision on the clearcutting increase by
the end of the year.
The state of Oregon has a constitutional mandate to generate revenue on the Elliott State
Forest for schools. Cascadia Wildlands has long advocated the state raise revenue in more
sensible ways. Scientists have found temperate rainforests, like those on the Elliott, can
sequester more carbon per acre than virtually any other place in the world. Cascadia
Wildlands has encouraged the state to leverage the Elliott’s ability to absorb carbon
dioxide from the atmosphere for dollars in a climate change mitigation scheme. Other
revenue generators exist including restoratively thinning the backlog of overstocked tree
farms on the Elliott, land trades and conservation acquisitions.