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Elliott State Forest

Elliott State Forest Public Ownership Project
In December 2018, the State Land Board directed the Oregon Department of State Lands to work with Oregon State University to develop a plan for transforming the Elliott State Forest into a research forest. 

Plan development is guided by the Land Board’s vision for the Forest, which includes:

  • Keeping the forest publicly owned with public access
  • Decoupling the forest from the Common School Fund, compensating the school fund for the forest and releasing the forest from its obligation to generate revenue for schools 
  • Continuing habitat conservation planning to protect species and allow for harvest
  • Providing for multiple forest benefits, including recreation, conservation, and working forest research
The plan will be developed in a robust, transparent process that engages tribes, local governments, state agencies, and key stakeholders. 

As a necessary first step, the Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL) and Oregon State University (OSU) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in February 2019. The MOU provides an outline of how DSL and OSU will work together to meet the Land Board’s expectations, the questions and issues to be examined in the planning process, and the commitments of DSL and OSU as partners in the planning effort. Oregon Department of State Lands and Oregon State University Memorandum of Understanding

Project Background
In May 2017, the State Land Board voted to keep the Elliott State Forest in public ownership and directed the Oregon Department of State Lands to move forward with a public ownership project for the forest.

In December 2018, the Board approved a declaration to implement the statute enacted by the Oregon Legislature in 2017 that provides $100 million in bonding to decouple Elliott State Forest from the Common School Fund or compensate the fund for preservation of noneconomic benefits.

Project Documents

Email Updates

Other Project Documents

Elliott State Forest Background

 Approximately 90 percent of the Elliott State Forest’s 91,000 acres are a land asset of the Common School Fund. The act of Congress admitting Oregon to the Union in 1859 granted land to our new state specifically to help fund public education. 

Oregon’s school lands are required – as a condition of their granting and by our state constitution – to benefit schools. As a result, there is limited flexibility in how the Elliott State Forest and other school lands are managed.  

Since the forest was established in 1930, revenue from timber harvest has been the primary way the forest contributes to the Common School Fund. Before 2013, the Elliott generated millions of dollars from harvesting on average about one percent of the forest per year. 

Since July 2012, because of harvest limitations prompted by a lawsuit over federally protected species, owning the Elliott has cost Oregon schools over $3 million. The forest is projected to continue to lose money because of these restrictions.


Ali Ryan Hansen
Communications Manager
Phone: 503-986-5298

For permits and forest management:
Ryan Singleton
Phone: 541-388-6289

Amber Ross 
Property Manager
Common School Fund – Real Property
Phone: 541-388-6345

News releases

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