Salem, Ore. – On Tuesday, the three members of the State Land Board were split on a major decision. Two of them, State Treasurer Tobias Read and Secretary of State Dennis Richardson voted to sell Oregon’s oldest state forest, the Elliott State Forest. The third member, Governor Kate Brown, voted to leave the forest in the hands of the public.
The Elliott is 82,500 acres of timberland placed in a trust to generate funding for Oregon public schools. Back in 1859, when we gained statehood, Oregon was divided into six-mile-square townships with 36 sections in each township. Two parcels of land in every township were granted by the federal government to be for the purpose of supporting public education. Then in the 1930’s, most of the sections were consolidated into what is now known The Elliott.
Flash forward to 2015 and due to low financial returns the then members of Land Board decided that it was in the best interest to sell The Elliott.
This week’s vote isn’t a final decision though. The Governor has asked the lands director to present other options at their next board meeting.