Police arrest last 4 protesters blocking logging

The Associated Press

REEDSPORT — The last of the protesters suspended in trees and homemade structures to block a timber sale on the Elliott State Forest were arrested Thursday.

The Oregon Department of Forestry said logging could resume as early as Friday on the Umpcoos Ridge No. 2 timber sale.

Twenty-seven people were arrested over two days and sent to jail in Roseburg, where they were to face charges of interfering with an agricultural operation, state police Lt. Gregg Hastings said.

Activists said they hoped to protect native forest that serves as fish and wildlife habitat, and prevent the release of carbon that would contribute to global warming.

"I think we regroup, read over the media we got, and try to make a strategy for applying pressure to the Oregon Department of Forestry to stop their liquidation of the Elliott State Forest," said Cascadia Rising Tide spokeswoman Jasmine Zimmer-Stucky.

About 50 activists took up positions blocking a road leading to the logging operation Monday, culminating an annual gathering of Earth First and Cascadia Rising Tide activists. About half of them left when warned that arrests would begin.

About 50 state police officers and Douglas County sheriff's deputies began arresting people Wednesday.

On Thursday, four people were left suspended in trees or homemade devices. One rappelled down and ran but was arrested four miles away, Hastings said. One person surrendered, and officers used a truck to reach two others.

Department of Forestry spokesman Rod Nichols said trenches dug in the logging road as part of the blockade had to be repaired and a safety check done of the logging site before loggers could return to work.

Unlike most state forests, the Elliott is owned by the Department of State Lands and managed by the Department of Forestry to provide money for the Common School Fund. The Umpcoos Ridge No. 2 sale represents $1.4 million for schools, Nichols said.

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