Over the years I have been fortunate to serve on the Agriculture and Natural Resource Committee. This committee has worked on many issues – some of which continue to rise again and again. The Elliot Forest is one of those issues.
I have not been in favor of selling the Elliot. This 82,000+ acres was designated to be utilized to its best ability to support our education system in this state. Over the years the forest has been underutilized because of the environmental organizations tying up projected harvest and production and an unwillingness of state leaders to oppose these organizations.
Six years ago as I sat in Ag and Natural Resource Committee I watch as then Governor Kitzhaber killed a bill which would have created approximately 2000 jobs and increased the Elliot Forest harvest significantly.
The bill was structured in order to protect the forest, harvest in a manner which would protect and preserve the forest – yet produce amble revenue for schools in our state. That is what this land was set aside for.
Through ongoing mismanagement and continual fighting with environmentalists, Elliot Forest was “put on the chopping block” for lack of a better statement.
The board which made that decision was then Governor Kitzhaber, Secretary of State Kate Brown and Treasurer Ted Wheeler. They made a deal – they agreed to a sale – they gave their word to a group of businesses who agreed to purchase the Elliot from the State of Oregon.
Again, I will state that I was not in favor of this – but I didn’t have a vote on that committee! So what happened to honor? When did it become acceptable to change your mind after you have given your word? Perhaps Governor Brown has come up with a better idea for the Elliot. Perhaps she has even figured out just how valuable those 82,000+ acres could have been to the State of Oregon if they had been managed properly.
But she gave her word to Lone Rock Resources, and the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians. have we gone so far in this State that the word of our “leaders” cannot be trusted or, for that matter, isn’t any good?
Whatever happened to honor? is selling the Elliot Forest a good idea? Probably not – but our Governor gave her word. She was in favor of selling and now is not! She thought it was the right thing to do and now she thinks its a mistake. Too bad Kate, so sad for our schools and the State which you govern. But you gave your word – it is time to honor the same.
Contact Representative Sal Esquivel
Republican – District 6 – Medford
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