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Back to Back Direct Actions for Cascadia's Forests!

This week forest defenders across Cascadia united to expose the link between the politicans and corporations that profit from the destruction of US public lands. On Tuesday, 40 Cascadians occupied US Senator Ron Wyden's office. The following day, a protester dressed as a spotted owl locked to a 250 pound stump while others rallied, shutting down Umpqua Bank's flagship branch for several hours.

Both Umpqua Bank and Senator Wyden greenwash their images, depicting themselves as environmentally friendly while supporting and profiting from the destruction of Oregon's native forests. Senator Wyden presents himself as a green politican, and yet of all US politicans he is the fifth highest recipient of campaign contributions from the timber industry. Meanwhile, he sponsors earth-destroying legislation with eco-friendly names like the "Healthy Forest Restoration Act."

Similarly, Umpqua Bank markets itself as a new, hip, eco-conscious bank. In reality "StUmpqua" Bank is run by the dinosaurs of Oregon's ancient forest logging industry. With the past two days of forest actions, local activists are gearing up for the upcoming Earth First! Direct Action Rendezvous in Southwest Oregon the final weekend in August, near the massive Biscuit logging project. The National Earth First! Rendezvous will be held in Oregon in Summer 2005.

VIDEO: Office takeover; Bank lockdown
PHOTOS: Office takeover; Bank lockdown; photo essay from stumpqua bank

BACKGROUND AND NEWS: [ Cascadia RiSiNG! Eco-Defense Infosite | Native Forest Council | Portland Indymedia Forest Page | Cascadia Forest Defenders ]

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Oregon Forest Defenders Occupying Senator Wyden's Office
Wyden Sells-Out Oregon's Public Forests to Timber Industry

Tuesday, August 17th, 10:30 am: Over 40 forest defenders from across Oregon are currently occupying Senator Wyden's office at 700 NE Multnomah St. With drumming, banners, and songs, the forest defenders delivered piles of sawdust to the Senator's office demanding Wyden stop selling Oregon's public lands to the timber industry. The protestors presented a slide show of threatened areas to educate the Senator and his aides about the on-the-ground destruction caused by their pro-logging policies.

"We need to shift management of Oregon's forests away from the commercial timber sale program towards genuine non-commercial restoration. Yet, from the Biscuit logging project to the so-called Healthy Forest Restoration Act, Senator Wyden aggressively promotes increased commercial logging in our National Forests," said Kristen Michelson, one of the protestors.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics (www.opensecrets.org), Senator Wyden is the fifth highest recipient of logging industry political contributions of all members of Congress. Senator Wyden receives more timber industry contributions than over 98% of all Republican congressional members, and all but one Democratic congressional member. Wyden is the third highest recipient of timber industry donations in the Senate.

"Wyden profits from timber industry contributions while the timber industry profits from Wyden's attacks on Oregon's public forests," said Michelson. "Even Senator Wyden's highly touted Lewis and Clark Mt. Hood Wilderness Act includes provisions that increase commercial logging on Mt. Hood National Forest."

Wyden's Lewis and Clark Mt. Hood Wilderness Act mandates a quota for logging on the westside of Mt. Hood National Forest while opening up the east side of Mt. Hood for logging in the name of forest health and fire prevention. Mirroring the Bush Administration's so-called Healthy Forest Restoration Act, the bill allows logging in Mt. Hood's eastside back country, which has been proven to increase the risk of catastrophic fire.

Senator Wyden has firmly stated his support for logging in Late Successional Reserves in the Biscuit Fire Area. He pushed to have the Biscuit Salvage Logging Project divided into three sections to speed up the logging of the Matrix areas. In 2003, Wyden's initial "healthy forests" bill, co-sponsored with Senator Feinstein (D-CA), included a salvage logging "pilot project" carved out of forests affected by the Biscuit fire. It was the only "healthy forests" bill bandied about that year that included anything about post-fire logging.

Senator Wyden was the most influential senator in the passage of the Bush administration's controversial Healthy Forest Restoration Act. In 2002, Senator Wyden proposed legislation that would have reduced environmental protections and increased logging across National Forests in eastern Oregon and Idaho.

Protestors presented Senator Wyden with the following list of demands:

1. We demand that Senator Wyden work to end the commercial timber sale program on all US public lands, as suggested by the National Forest Protection and Restoration Act (see www.forestadvocate.org).
2. We demand that Senator Wyden work to stop all commercial logging in the Biscuit Fire area, including in Matrix lands.
3. We demand that Senator Wyden work to immediately halt all commercial timber sales in Oregon specifically including: Solo (Mt. Hood National Forest), Straw Devil (Willamette National Forest), Kelsey Whiskey (Medford BLM), East Fork Coquille (Coos Bay BLM) and Metolius (Deschutes National Forest).
4. We demand that Senator Wyden stop using wilderness proposals as a cover to increase commercial logging on our public lands. Specifically, we demand that Senator Wyden work against any legislation or rider that allows commercial logging in the Biscuit Fire Area in return for increased wilderness areas. We demand that Senator Wyden remove Section 8, which promotes commercial logging, from the Lewis and Clark Mt. Hood Wilderness Act of 2004.

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Protestor Locked to 250 pound Stump outside Umpqua Bank's Flagship Store:
Forest Defenders Continue to Expose Oregon's Forest Destroyers

Following yesterday's surprise occupation of Senator Wyden's office by over 40 Oregon forest defenders, protestors turned their sights on Umpqua Bank. One protestor is currently locked to a 250 pound stump outside of Umpqua Bank's flagship store in Portland's Pearl District (1139 NW Lovejoy Street), while 20 Oregonians use banners, songs, and flyers to protest the bank's ties to the destruction of Oregon's public lands.

"Both Umpqua Bank and Senator Wyden greenwash their images while supporting commercial logging in Oregon's National Forests," said protestor Kristen Michelson. "We're exposing Senator Wyden and Umpqua Bank as two of the biggest threats to Oregon's public lands."

Umpqua Bank is tightly connected to the destruction of Oregon's ancient forests. Over the last four years activists have increasingly targeted Umpqua Bank for protests as a means to force Oregon old growth logging companies Roseburg Forest Products and Herbert Lumber to respect the public's desires to protect ancient forests.

"Umpqua Bank markets itself as the hip new alternative bank, while in reality Umpqua is closely linked to the dinosaurs of Oregon's old growth logging industry," said Michelson. "Oregon's forest destroyers profit from our business at Umpqua Bank, while our drinking water, forests, and wildlife pay the price."

The president of Umpqua Bank's board of directors is Allyn Ford, sole owner of Roseburg Forest Products. Roseburg Forest Products owns the contracts to some of the most controversial mature and old growth timber sales on public lands in Oregon, such as East Devil and Pryor in the Willamette National Forest.

The Herbert family was among the founders of Umpqua Bank in 1953. Lynn Herbert, the general manager/owner of Herbert Lumber is currently on the Board of Directors of Umpqua Bank. Lynn and Milton Herbert (owners of Herbert Lumber) are Umpqua Holding Co.'s largest shareholders, owning 1.5 million shares or 20% of the company's stock.

A local example of Herbert Lumber's destructive logging practices is the soon-to-be-cut Bear II Timber Sale, an old growth stand of prime spotted owl habitat, located in the Mt. Hood National Forest near Breitenbush Hotsprings. The Mt. Hood National Forest provides drinking water to over 40% of all Oregonians.

Protestors demand that either Herbert Lumber and Roseburg Forest Products immediately stop commercially logging on Oregon's public lands, or that Umpqua Bank remove both Allyn Ford and Lynn Herbert from its board of directors. Protestors encouraged consumers to boycott Umpqua Bank until those demands are met.

In July 2002, over 100 Earth First!ers took over Umpqua Holding Co. in downtown Portland for over two hours demanding cancellation of controversial timber sales held by Umpqua President of the Board Allyn Ford's Roseburg Forest Products. This action followed the 2002 National Earth First! gathering held in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. With the past two days of forest actions, local activists are gearing up for the 2005 National Earth First! Gathering to be held in Mt. Hood National Forest.

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