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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Lawmakers Want To Crack Down On Logging Protests

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US Forest Service

Oregon lawmakers want to increase penalties for protesters who disrupt logging on state-owned forestland. The Oregon House Monday approved a measure that makes it a crime to obstruct timber operations. But the bill would still allow protests that don't actually block logging crews.

Logging companies say that protesters can come out and through their actions put timber industry workers at risk by getting in the way of these operations. Obviously there's an annoyance factor as well for timber companies, but this bill aims to strike a compromise between continuing to allow free speech, but cracking down on actions that are obstructive.

Now opponents to this measure say some of these things are already crimes and what this bill does is target people with a specific view about the timber industry.

After clearing the House, the measure now heads to the Oregon Senate.

On the Web:

HB 2595: Interference with state forestland management - Oregon Legislature