Three 'forest defenders' arrested during Molalla protest

Three 'forest defenders' arrested during Molalla protest
Photo courtesy Timothy Swenson

MOLALLA, Ore. - Protesters took over the lobby of an Oregon Department of Forestry office in Molalla on Monday morning to protest logging in the Elliot State Forest.

Molalla Police spokesman Detective Scott Douglas said 30 protesters “occupied” the lobby of the ODF office or gathered outside. Most of the protesters left the office when asked to by police, however four people stayed behind.

Three of those four used tubes to interlock their arms and refused the budge. Around 3 p.m., they were finally arrested and taken to jail for trespassing and disorderly conduct, Douglas said.

In a statement, the self-described “forest defenders” said they refuse to leave the office until the ODF revokes its support for logging plans in the Elliott State Forest, which is in Coos County.

Logging is scheduled to start in the forest in the coming weeks.

“It’s absolutely devastating to walk into the middle of a clear cut in the Elliot and know that after decades of fighting for forest protection this sort of logging is still accepted on public lands,” protester Meredith Cocks of Portland said in a statement.

A person who answered the phone at the ODF office said the protests were peaceful.

Last week, three protesters erected aerial platforms in the forest and were subsequently arrested by Oregon State Police  troopers.

Read more on this story from the Molalla Pioneer newspaper