Cave Junction, Ore – Oregon’s Fourth Congressional District representative, Peter Defazio is traveling throughout Southwest Oregon holding town hall meetings.
On Tuesday he visited Cave Junction, where he was confronted by a group of supporters and protesters.
A handful of protesters went as far as dressing up as trees, to get DeFazio’s attention. Around fifty protesters gathered outside of the cave junction community building hoping to have their voices heard.
“We’re trying to get our neighbors together to share their experience and their stories about what’s going on,” said environmental activist Gunter Ambron.
House Bill 1526, also known as “The O&C Trust Act,” was largely what prompted the protest. The bill would place roughly 1.5 million acres of O&C and Public Domain land into a trust that would maximize logging revenue. This is something protesters believe would do more harm than good.
“I don’t feel like we should be sacrificing our ecological integrity of these public lands that belong to all of us not just the county governments, not just the people living in those counties by the people living in New York and everywhere across this county — they belong to all of those people,” said environmental activist Bill Gray.
Some activists are also concerned with the well-being of the wildlife which live in the forest.
“Once you take out that large of the amount of fire resistant trees it will change the ecology of that wet forest to a dry forest and kill off all the species that depend on wet forests,” said Ambron.
Representative DeFazio feels differently. He believes the bill will benefit cave junction residents and the lands surrounding them.
“There is going to be more timber harvests… there are going to be more revenues there is going to be permanent protection for some things that are particularly valuable like old growth,” said DeFazio.
The bill passed the house last Friday 244-173. It is now heading to the senate for approval. After stopping in Cave Junction, DeFazio was off to Canyonville and Roseburg before heading back to Washington D.C. Tuesday.