I attended the State Land Board discussion of Elliott State School Land Forest Weds Dec. 19. Here is what the public needs to know.
Gov. Brown is bailing on the Common School Fund to appease the Green Lobby and its money. She is proposing to sell the Elliott to OSU School of Forestry for $100 million, if a bond can be sold to finance that. That is essentially $1220/acre for 82,000 acres of "old growth" precious timber and timberland. OSU was given 1400 acres of manicured timberland in 2003, close to MacForest and Corvallis. OSU Forestry sold the land and timber to build Richardson Hall, named for the woman who gave them the timberland. Rosboro Lumber in Eugene bought it for $23.7 million dollars. Just shy of $17,000 per acre about 15 years ago.
The State of Oregon, administered by Gov. Brown, was recently audited by the office of Sec of State, as to spending for goods and services, and the audit says the State is losing $400 million to $1.6 billion per budget cycle due to lax oversight, and this Governor wants to increase taxes and force carbon taxes to the tune of $2 billion dollars. Then I read this morning that Lane country is going to build a $253 million courthouse, which is 2.5 times the value Gov. Brown has assigned to the Elliott. OSU paying "fair market value" to the Common School Fund is not even on the Land Board radar, which is probably dereliction of duty and the due diligence demanded of any arm's length deal to sell Common School Lands to another State agency. I would suggest that if this goes through, there will be zero income for Coos County and profligate spending by a spendthrift university and the abettor, our sitting Governor. I cannot see how Coos County would not challenge, even litigate, such a proposed sale and solution, if only because the Elliott has put over $600 million in the Common School Fund to now, and tens of millions more into Coos County taxes and payrolls over its life to now. The Elliott is figuratively a goose laying golden eggs for schools and school boards across Oregon. Parents and citizens should not tolerate such getting less than 10 cents on the dollar for school assets with a proven record of sustainable wealth for use in public education. This whole deal is wrong.