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Environment and Planning
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.

No Proposals Yet As Deadline Approaches For Elliott State Forest

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Chris Lehman
/
Northwest News Network
A group protests the potential sale of the Elliott State Forest outside a meeting of the State Land Board in Salem.

There's about one month remaining to submit proposals to buy Oregon's Elliott State Forest. The Oregon Department of State Lands said so far, no one has expressed interest in the 82,000 acre property in southwest Oregon.

The state values the land at $220 million and says whoever buys it would have to maintain public access on at least 50 percent of the site. The new owner would also have to preserve part of it for old-growth timber and protect fish habitat.

But some conservation groups say those guidelines will be hard to enforce if private investors buy the land.

"From fishing and hunting opportunities, to hiking, to birding, to the clean water, to the carbon storage to mitigate climate change, this is a forest that needs to be retained in public ownership,” Cascadia Wildlands Executive Director Josh Laughlin said.

Laughlin was part of a group that rallied outside a meeting of the State Land Board Tuesday in Salem. That board is expected to review any possible proposals to buy the Elliott at its December meeting.

Money from a sale would go to Oregon's Common School Fund.