Dec. 10, 2013
For immediate release 13-17
Land Board approves recommendation to sell 2,728 acres in Elliott State Forest
Salem – At their public meeting Tuesday, the State Land Board approved moving forward on selling five scattered tracts in the Elliott State Forest through an open competitive bid process.
The tracts total 2,728 acres, about 3 percent of the total Elliott acreage overseen by the Land Board. Because of recent restricted timber harvests, in fiscal year 2013 the Elliott experienced a net loss of $3 million, which reduced the value of the Common School Fund. This deficit is expected to continue into the next several fiscal years.
Oregon’s constitution directs the board to manage its land holdings to generate money for public education. Revenue from “school lands” is deposited in the Common School Fund, whose earnings are distributed twice a year to Oregon’s 197 public school districts.
After receiving public comments from about 20 people, the board gave the Department of State Lands the go-ahead to start the sale process as defined in administrative rule (OAR 141-067), and outlined in the board’s Real Estate Asset Management Plan. Both provide direction and criteria for land sales and exchanges.
“This is a complicated situation,” said Gov. John Kitzhaber, chair of the board. “These sales are the first step in helping determine the value of this land, and opening the door to a wider range of options for achieving both our need to fund schools and our desire to conserve.” If you want to bring a conservation buyer to the table, for example, you need to know the value of the land, he said.
Kitzhaber and the other Land Board members stressed that the valuation will help inform future land management actions and solutions.
The Department began its due diligence on the parcels earlier this year, evaluating financial, natural, cultural and recreational impacts. Adjacent property owners, interested parties, and federal, state and local agencies were notified during the evaluation.
All interested parties, including timber and conservation organizations, are encouraged to seek additional information from the Department.
The State Land Board consists of Governor John Kitzhaber, Secretary of State Kate Brown and State Treasurer Ted Wheeler. The Department of State Lands administers diverse natural and fiscal resources. Many of the resources generate revenue for the Common School Fund, such as state-owned rangelands and timberlands, waterway leases, estates for which no will or heirs exist, and unclaimed property. Twice a year, the agency distributes fund investment earnings to support K-12 public schools. The agency also administers Oregon’s Removal-Fill Law, which requires people removing or filling certain amounts of material in waters of the state to obtain a permit.