Decision: Elliott State Forest to stay public

Decision came just 3 months after move to sell it

The Elliott State Forest, north of Coos Bay in this photo from the Oregon Department of Forestry, April 12, 2014
The Elliott State Forest, north of Coos Bay in this photo from the Oregon Department of Forestry, April 12, 2014

SALEM, Ore. (AP) – The Oregon State Land Board has ditched its plan to sell the Elliott State Forest, deciding to keep it in public hands and ordering the Department of State Lands to examine suggested options, including selling it to Oregon State University as a research forest while allowing timber harvesting, public access and protection of endangered species.

Supporters of a drive to keep Oregon’s oldest state forest in public hands cheered Tuesday after the board, composed of the governor, secretary of state and state treasurer, made the unanimous decision.

It came just three months after the board voted 2-1 to sell the Coastal Range forest to a timber company and an Indian tribe.

Michael Rondeau, chief executive officer of the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua, said this was yet another blow to regional tribes.