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Elliott State Forest


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Exploring an Elliott State Research Forest
The Oregon Department of State Lands and Oregon State University are working collaboratively to transform the Elliott State Forest into a publicly owned state research forest.

What's Happening Now
The State Land Board in December 2020 affirmed the Elliott State Forest's future as a research forest, and directed continued collaboration and engagement to finalize remaining details. 

More work – and discussion with stakeholders and the public – will be needed in 2021 and beyond to successfully establish an Elliott State Research Forest. Sign up for the Elliott mailing list to recieve updates.

Feedback Summary
Approximately 1,700 comments regarding draft elements of the research forest proposal were submitted during the feedback period in October/November 2020. A feedback summary, and all written comments recieved, are available here. See the archived draft proposal information.

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. ESRF Advisory Committee Roster.

OSU Exploratory Work
For information on Oregon State University’s efforts related to the development of an Elliott State Research Forest proposal, visit the OSU Elliott State Forest website. The website includes an OSU Exploratory Committee Roster, details about the Elliott State Research Forest Science Advisory Panel, and other information.

Elliott Updates

Oct. 20, 2020: Your feedback needed on an Elliott State Research Forest
Sept. 16, 2020: Planning for public engagement
April 4, 2020: What we heard in 2019
Jan. 27, 2020: Getting down to details on the Elliott

Join the Elliott State Research Forest email list! DSL provides regular email updates via the mailing list. Important: To sign up for the mailing list, check the Elliott State Forest Updates box on the DSL mailing list page.

The State Land Board vision for the Elliott 

 A successful proposal 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

Recap of 2019 Exploratory Work

In December 2018, the State Land Board directed DSL and OSU to begin examining the Elliott State Research Forest concept. DSL and OSU then launched an exploratory process. DSL convened an Elliott State Research Forest Advisory Committee, and OSU established an exploratory committee within its College of Forestry. DSL and OSU also engaged tribes, local governments, state agencies and stakeholders in conversation, and held public events and listening sessions. Additionally, the research forest concept was incorporated into the in-progress habitat conservation planning process. 

An update on progress made was presented to the Land Board on Dec. 10, 2019.

The Elliott State Research Forest Advisory Committee also delivered a unanimous statement to the Board recommending that work continue. Read the Committee statement.   

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. Partial funding for HCP development has been provided through Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's Wildlife Grants Program in cooperation with the Federal Funding Agency, under Federal Award number F20AP00323.

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.

Elliott Archive 
Elliott Archive: A collection of information related to past Elliott State Forest processes. Includes GIS data, maps, plans, appraisals, and more. Please note: Information is archived here to make it readily available. Contact DSL with questions about the current status of the Elliott and to check for updated information. 

Photo of trees and hills that make up Elliott State Forest


For Elliott State Research Forest project:
Ali Ryan Hansen
Phone: 503-510-6860

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

Amber McKernan 
Property Manager
Phone: 541-388-6345

News releases

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