Cascadia Forest Defenders Begin Occupation in Willamette National Forest and Join Demonstration on University Campus

Beginning on Nov. 16, community members with Cascadia Forest Defenders began “occupying a road leading to public forest slated for clear-cutting in the Willamette National Forest” — a part of the Breitenbush Watershed. 

The press release regarding this action can be read here

The next day, on Nov. 17, members of both Cascadia Forest Defenders and the University of Oregon’s Climate Justice League held a demonstration during a presentation by Tyler Freres of Freres Lumber Co. inside the university’s Knight Law Center. 

The press release can be found here

This was the first of a two-part series of presentations. The next one, on Friday, Nov. 19, will be by Tim Inglesbee regarding the environmental dangers of post-fire salvaging. 

Starting shortly after 12 p.m., Freres introduced his presentation to a fully-packed room by speaking about the company his grandfather founded in 1922 and that all of their operations are based in the Santiam Canyon. 

For the rest of his presentation, Freres spoke about the types of facilities his company operates and gave examples of previous post-fire salvaging work that they had done. He also offered everyone an in-person tour. 

Last years’ fires were an anomaly according to Freres. 

After being asked what sorts of fire preventative practices are leading to “anomalies” like last years’ fires. He said that that is mostly politically driven to which an audience member sarcastically responded, “so it’s the forest’s fault.” 

About a question regarding the use of herbicides, Freres said that they only use them once or twice during a tree’s lifetime prior to harvest and that seedlings planted today wouldn’t be harvested for another 40 years. 

Chemical runoff was questioned and Freres stated that he believed his use of herbicides was “inconsequential” because of the frequency in which farms and other industries in the area use them. 

At around 12:45 p.m., Freres began to be interrupted with question after question from the audience. They got louder, started getting up, and several people unfurled paper banners while others held signs. 

After a few minutes of chanting about forest defense, the room emptied. It appeared that the vast majority of those in the audience were a part of the demonstration showing what the local community approves of.

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