Tree sitters

Tree sitters could become felons

2013-03-06T11:21:00Z 2013-03-06T11:45:39Z Tree sitters could become felonsBy Thomas Moriarty, The World Coos Bay World
March 06, 2013 11:21 am  • 

COOS BAY — Environmental activists who block timber sales in the Elliott State Forest may face stiffer criminal penalties in the future.

The Oregon House Judiciary Committee held hearings in Salem this week on House Bill 2595, which would create both first- and second-degree charges of interference with forestland management.

The second-degree charge is a Class A misdemeanor. The first-degree offense would be a Class C felony, and would carry a minimum sentence of 13 months in prison and a maximum sentence of 5 years.

If the bill becomes law, protesters who refuse to cooperate with law enforcement officers could be charged with the felony offense.

Rod Nichols, an Oregon Forestry Department spokesman, said previous timber sale protesters have been charged with interfering with an agricultural operation — a Class A misdemeanor  similar to the proposed law’s second-degree charge.

Protesters also have been charged with criminal mischief and criminal trespass.

Law enforcement actions in the Elliott typically have been handled by Coos County and Douglas County sheriff’s deputies, with assistance from the Oregon State Police Mobile Response Team.

“It’s kind of unusual in the Elliott, because we have two counties involved,” Nichols said.

The Elliott was the site of major protests in 2009 and 2011, when activists tried to halt logging on two timber sale parcels. Authorities arrested 27 people during the 2009 protest at the Umpcoos timber sale site.

Logging at 11 sites in the Elliott and other state forests is currently suspended under an injunction handed down in November.

Reporter Thomas Moriarty can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 240, or by email at thomas.moriarty@theworldlink.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ThomasDMoriarty.

Copyright 2015 Coos Bay World. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(13) Comments

  1. conservativenotrepublican
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    conservativenotrepublican - March 13, 2013 7:21 am
    3rd article Ive read this morning...love the comments. For a while there I believed Coos county to be one gigantic "duck dynasty" hillbilly haven. So glad to see thinking people speaking out on things like this IN FAVOR of a more "leftist" approach to things. I love it. It means that the conservative christian (did you read the marriage articles?) gun-nut types are losing ground....and thank the gods for that! Your politics are garbage, your religion is narrow, and Im a happy guy
  2. skywatcher
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    skywatcher - March 10, 2013 9:30 am
    Protesting and blocking access are two different things. You can protest abortion, but block access to a clinic and guess what, you're going to jail!
  3. common
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    common - March 09, 2013 6:33 am
    You've got to be kidding? Wayne Krieger is the cash mouth for the big lumber companies in Oregon. He is a retired OSP officer and seems to want to arrest people for speaking their minds. He not going after the big enviro groups only the young people they talk into blocking sales. He's collected money from the timber lobby in Oregon and now it pay back time. I'm a logger but against anything that makes more young felons. Freedom of speech is a basic right and that's that but soon all will be lost
  4. bes
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    bes - March 08, 2013 4:36 pm
    Not shouting, it's just large print and easier to read..there have been studies that tell us forestry is not a renewable resource, all of which have been hushed because those in power like making huge profits and selling our resources for little. If trees were so sustainable, how come we are in such an economic funk here in Coos Bay? Because it takes a very long time to grow a big tree and they have already cut them all down, and the few remaining are worth more standing. Do some research.
  5. c97459
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    c97459 - March 08, 2013 3:17 pm
    GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — A tree farmer serving in the Legislature wants to make it a felony for people to chain themselves to equipment and block roads to stop logging on state forests.
    Gold Beach Republican Rep. Wayne Krieger's bill would toughen what is now a misdemeanor. If approved, the maximum penalty would be five years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
    Krieger, who is a former state trooper, cited protests on the Elliott State Forest as the latest example of what he calls a "reign of terror"
  6. Mr Focus
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    Mr Focus - March 08, 2013 1:31 pm
    If they're smart they'll just take guns up there with them, all the rural Oregon sheriff's have already stated they won't enforce the law against people exercising their second amendment "rights"
  7. Ahamshad
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    Ahamshad - March 08, 2013 12:15 pm
    Obviously the majority is ok with the way things are going otherwise the land management people who are entrusted with protecting public land wouldn't be there. So that means that a small majority, and if you look close, its small, SHOUT AND MOAN AND GROAN AND TAKE TO THE TREES AND CAUSE DAMAGE ETC TO CAUSE ADDITIONAL EXPENSE BECAUSE THEY THINK THEY ARE RIGHT AND THE LAWS ON THE BOOKS ARE WRONG. Is that what I am getting from this?
  8. bes
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    bes - March 07, 2013 5:40 pm
    AND, TREE SITTERS DO ATTEND MEETINGS IN SALEM AS WELL AS ALL OVER THE STATE TO ENGAGE IN DIALOGUE, LETTERS ARE WRITTEN, PHONE CALLS AND EMAILS ARE MADE..IT'S WHEN THESE FORMS OF COMMUNICATION FAIL THAT PEOPLE TAKE TO TREES TO BE HEARD.
  9. bes
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    bes - March 07, 2013 5:24 pm
    BUT THE TREES DO BELONG TO THEM, AND US, ALL OF US, THAT'S WHY WE ARE PROTESTING..THE FOREST IS A NATURAL RESOURCE AND BELONGS TO THE PEOPLE OF OREGON, NOT THE TIMBER INVESTORS AND ODF AND HOW COME THE WORLD ISN'T PRINTING THIS VERY IMPORTANT SUBJECT
  10. Ahamshad
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    Ahamshad - March 07, 2013 12:23 pm
    You want to protest? Do it civily. Write a letter, attend a meeting, etc. Don't be the idiots building platforms in trees that don't belong to them or blocking roads, again, that don't belong to them. These "protesters" waste so much public money that by locking them up and not having the circus show up at every logging site will pay for itself. How much did the last protest cost?

    Go to Salem. Testify on a commitee. Don't wast the taxpayers money on getting you down from the tree stand.
  11. c97459
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    c97459 - March 07, 2013 7:11 am
    More mandatory sentences for protesters? Excuse me, are we in Russia or Communist China?
    Oh, wait a minute aren't these trees destined for China? Who is going to foot the bill for housing these protesters in prison? What about people's right to protest, aren't these lands public lands? I really wonder if this proposal is what our founding fathers would want. Even the probable cause for arrest is a he said she said violation. What happened to Oregon Legislating wisdom? This one stinks.
  12. bes
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    bes - March 06, 2013 5:58 pm
    Jail youth who are protecting our natural resources from corporate rape and exploitation? I don't think so, there will be way more tree sitters and they won't just be young people who can climb, the rest of Oregon will be occupying the forest on the ground and good luck getting us all out.
  13. regards
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    regards - March 06, 2013 2:47 pm
    Oh really? Mandatory sentences? We have no room or resources for violent criminals in our prison system. This sounds like a terrible proposal.
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