Salem, OR—Today, Secretary of State Dennis Richardson released leadership principles for the Oregon Way Forward on the Elliott State Forest. The Land Board will consider plans for the Elliott at the upcoming May 9 meeting, including potential new public ownership options. The decision to sell the Elliott Forest and the current sale protocols were proposed by Governor Kate Brown in 2015 and unanimously approved by Governor Brown, former Treasurer and current Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, and former Secretary of State and current Democratic Party Chair, Jeanne Atkins, who constituted the Oregon Land Board at that time. A fully qualified buyer complied with the sale protocols and stands ready, willing, and able to pay the stated sale price of $220.8 million to support Oregon public education. Although completion of the sale was approved by Treasurer Tobias Read and Secretary of State Dennis Richardson earlier this year, there will be discussions about alternative options at next week's Land Board meeting.
“The Oregon Way Forward for the Elliott Forest requires maximizing funding for Oregon schools. True leadership requires doing the right thing regardless of the political consequences," said Secretary Richardson. "I agree with the Oregon School Boards Association. We are both morally and constitutionally required to prioritize Oregon's schoolchildren by providing at least $220.8 million for smaller class sizes, more school days, expanding career training, and increasing graduation rates."
Leadership Principles for the Oregon Way Forward on the Elliott State Forest:
1. Education First. A plan must be consistent with the moral and constitutional requirements to prioritize Oregon schoolchildren by providing at least $220.8 million for smaller class sizes, more school days, expanding career training, and increasing graduation rates. This fiduciary duty of the Land Board as Trustees to maximize yields is paramount.
2. Protect Environment. A plan must incorporate Forest Stewardship Council principles and clearly meet the requirements of the Endangered Species Act to protect critical habitat and wildlife.
3. Create Jobs. A plan must allow sustainable timber harvest to create permanent family-wage jobs in struggling rural and coastal communities.
4. Recreational Access. A plan must ensure that hunters, anglers, hikers, and all other Oregonians have access to the forest.
5. Tribal Justice. A plan must keep the promise to restore ownership of ancestral homelands to tribal peoples who have protected them for millennia.
6. Generational Equity. A plan must be financially sound over the long term and avoid saddling Oregon's children with decades of debt.
7. Public Ownership. A plan must retain options for public ownership of old growth forest areas.
8. State Reputation. A plan must preserve the state's reputation and the ability to negotiate agreements in good faith with business and nonprofit partners in the future.