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Elliott State Forest

Elliott State Forest Public Ownership Project

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. 

The project seeks a public option for the forest that will: 
  • Keep the forest publicly owned 
  • Decouple 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 
  • Continue habitat conservation planning to protect species and allow for harvest

The 2017 Oregon Legislature approved $100 million in bond proceeds to compensate the Common School Fund for loss of revenue, and also allocated $1.5 million for the public ownership project. 

The two major project elements are Common School Fund Decoupling and Habitat Conservation Plan Development. 

Common School Fund Decoupling
DSL engaged Oregon Consensus, a program of the National Policy Consensus Center at Portland State University, as a neutral party to assist with outreach and overall work toward decoupling. Between March-August 2018, Oregon Consensus gathered perspectives on decoupling by conducting interviews with individuals representing federal, tribal, state and local governments, as well as individuals representing timber, conservation, school funding beneficiaries, recreation, land trusts, labor and others. 

In October 2018, Oregon Consensus submitted a final report summarizing what was heard in the interviews, as well as discussion of key themes, issues, and considerations for successful decoupling. Feedback on the final report was accepted until November 15, 2018 at 5 p.m. See Project Documents for the report and comments received. 

Habitat Conservation Plan Development 
DSL has contracted with ICF, Inc. to develop a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP). Work began in summer 2018.  

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

News releases

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