17 protesters arrested at Oregon logging blockade

GRANTS PASS, Ore. — State police on Wednesday arrested 17 protestors trying to stop a logging operation on the Elliott State Forest outside Reedsport.

Lt. Gregg Hastings said officers needed more time to handle eight others who locked themselves to barricades or were lodged in nearby trees.

The blockade made up of cement-filled barrels, an overturned school bus, and platforms hanging from trees was erected Monday on a logging road leading to the Umpcoos Ridge No. 2 timber sale, where loggers for Roseburg Forest Products had begun felling timber. The loggers turned back.

Jasmine Zimmer-Stucky, of Cascadia Rising Tide, said protesters hoped to stop the removal of native forest that stores carbon, a process that would otherwise contribute to global warming, and to protect fish and wildlife habitat for threatened species such as the northern spotted owl and Oregon coastal coho salmon.

She added they would give up their blockade if Roseburg Forest Products sells the timber back to the state.

Scott Folk, vice president for resources at Roseburg Forest Products subsidiary Scott Timber in Dillard, said they were willing to consider any request the state may have but “we are not advocating a sale back to the state, period.”

Hastings said officers found about 50 protestors at the site, half of whom remained when asked to leave.

Protesters were notified Tuesday night that they faced arrest on charges of interfering with an agricultural operation, and those arrested were taken to the Douglas County Jail in Roseburg, Hastings said.

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