Oregon Forest Resources Institute: the Timber Industry’s “Ministry of Propaganda”

(this email update was sent to Friends supporters on September 3rd, 2020)

Oregon Forest Resources Institute image & report – cleverly designed to downplay negative impacts of industrial forestry practices on watersheds (our tax dollars at work)

Dear Friends of OSU Old Growth,

In our last email update, I urged you to read a recent OPB/ProPublica article exposing how the Oregon Forest Resources Institute (OFRI), a publicly-funded organization, has served as the propaganda ministry of the timber industry.  I encouraged you to contact the Governor, your State Senator and Representatives to demand they DEFUND OFRI and overhaul the Forest Products Harvest Tax that funds the Institute.  I’m now very excited to report that Governor Brown has called for an official audit of OFRI.  You can read more about it here:  https://www.propublica.org/article/oregon-gov-kate-brown-calls-for-audit-after-our-reporting-on-a-state-institute-that-lobbied-for-the-timber-industry

While this is encouraging news, it’s only the beginning of what’s needed.  As the earlier OPB/ProPublica article pointed out, OFRI has a long history of attempting to suppress and influence OSU research.  OFRI recently funded a 2-year OSU study looking at the impacts of industrial logging on Oregon watersheds.  Not surprisingly, OFRI presented a decidedly rosy picture of the study results.  Their “Trees to Tap” summary report and webpage are clearly designed to “muddy the waters” when it comes to drawing conclusions about adverse impacts of industrial forestry.  They omit any substantive discussion of the enormous negative impacts of clearcuts and aerial spraying on our drinking water supplies.  By buying OSU’s stamp of academic expertise and presenting a decidedly biased spin, OFRI has done a disservice to both OSU and Oregonians (who provide 100% of its funding).  For a powerful piece about OFRI’s influence, read Will Watson’s “Guest View” in the Eugene Register Guard:  https://www.registerguard.com/story/opinion/columns/2020/09/01/tragedy-our-time-becomes-manifest/3446192001/

For a more realistic view of the impacts of logging on our watersheds, I’d highly recommend you watch this compelling video shot in the Siletz watershed (courtesy of Pacific Rivers):  Behind the Emerald Curtain 51 acres of remaining original forest on the Siletz…out of ~ 67 miles of river – this is the sad reality of Oregon’s history of industrial forestry!  OSU forestry students don’t tour these large, damaging clearcuts as part of their required studies, yet OSU claims to be a leader in forestry education.  It is precisely this kind of bias by omission that perpetuates the destructive status quo of industrial forestry.

Please take a moment to let Governor Brown know you support efforts to defund OFRI and overhaul the Forest Products Harvest Tax.  You can find her comment/contact form here:  https://www.oregon.gov/gov/Pages/share-your-opinion.aspx

If you live in Corvallis, you can also contact Senator Sara Gelser:  Sen.SaraGelser@oregonlegislature.gov
and Representative Dan Rayfield:  Rep.DanRayfield@oregonlegislature.gov
Click on these links to compose your email.  Both of them have been supportive of our efforts, but they still need to hear from you on this important issue.

Thanks for creating positive change!

Doug & Friends of OSU Old Growth – www.friendsofosuoldgrowth.org