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Elliott State Forest

Exploring an Elliott State Research Forest
In December 2018, the State Land Board directed the Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL) to work collaboratively with Oregon State University (OSU) to develop a plan for transforming the Elliott State Forest into a research forest. A successful plan will be consistent with the Land Board 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, education, and working forest research

DSL and OSU anticipate a proposed plan will be presented to the Land Board for consideration in December 2019. 

Gathering Information
The Elliott State Forest is important to many Oregonians, for many different reasons. Engaging with tribes, local governments, state agencies, key stakeholders and the public is essential as the research forest concept is explored.

Elliott State Research Forest Advisory Committee.
DSL has formed an Advisory Committee to provide insight and input on key elements of a proposed plan. The committee, which represents a variety of perspectives on the forest, began meeting in April 2019. Committee Roster 

Upcoming Advisory Committee Meeting

Thursday, Oct. 24

9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Red Lion Hotel, Rogue Room

1313 N. Bayshore Dr.

Coos Bay, Oregon 97420

Friday, Oct. 25

8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Elliott tour for committee members)

Past Advisory Committee Meeting Summaries:

               April 10, 2019
               May 1, 2019
               May 30, 2019
               June 25, 2019
               July 30, 2019
               August 22, 2019
               September 26, 2019

For information on Oregon State University’s efforts related to the development of an Elliott State Research Forest proposal for the State Land Board, go to the following link:

Public Events. Public events will be held during the planning process for Oregonians to learn more and to provide input. Please watch this space for announcements on future meetings or events.

Coos Bay public meeting - Oct. 23

Portland public meeting – Sept. 24

The Oregon Department of State Lands will host a public informational meeting in Coos Bay on Wednesday, Oct. 23 to share information and answer questions about the possible proposal by Oregon State University to establish a research forest on the Elliott. Oregon State University will attend the meeting to help answer questions about the project. This will be an informational meeting only, and will not be a public hearing to receive testimony.

Meeting date/location:

Wednesday, Oct. 23

5:30 – 7 p.m.

Coos History Museum, Sprague Gallery

1210 N. Front St., Coos Bay, OR 97420

Join the Elliott State Research Forest email list! DSL will provide regular updates throughout the planning process to those who sign up for our ESRF mailing list. IMPORTANT! You must sign up for the ESRF email list separately from other DSL email lists (such as our Jordan Cove list, for example).

Background: The 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. With this direction, DSL began to explore decoupling the forest from the Common School Fund, and began development of a Habitat Conservation Plan for the forest.  

Decoupling the Elliott from the Common School Fund

In March 2018, Oregon Consensus began gathering information from a variety of stakeholders regarding the future of the Elliott. The resulting report captured key themes, issues, and considerations for successful decoupling. The report also outlined “assumptions” regarding the Land Board’s expectations for decoupling. Those expectations serve as the foundation for the Land Board vision.

Potential public owners were asked to come before the Land Board in December 2018 to express their interest in the forest. At that meeting, the Land Board voted to explore development of a research forest as the next step, and directed DSL to begin working with OSU to develop a proposed plan. 

During the December meeting, the Land Board also approved a declaration to implement the statute enacted by the Oregon Legislature in 2017 that provides $100 million in bonding toward decoupling the Elliott State Forest from the Common School Fund or compensating the fund for preservation of noneconomic benefits.

Developing a Habitat Conservation Plan
The Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) development process began in summer 2018 and is continuing. DSL is overseeing development of an HCP that will be consistent with research forest use, and has contracted with ICF, Inc. to develop the HCP.  OSU is engaging in and supporting development of the HCP, including contributing technical expertise. 

Project Documents

About the Elliott State Forest 
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 for the use of schools.  

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.

The Elliott State Forest Public Ownership Project seeks a solution that will address the financial impact to the school fund, while also achieving the other elements of the Land Board vision.


Ken Armstrong
Communications Manager
Phone: 503-986-5298

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

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

News releases

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