This is how OSU creates “structural diversity” and “improves wildlife habitat” in an older, complex forest (OSU’s ‘Woodpecker’ cut, near Peavy Arboretum)

7/17/24: Despite unprecedented community opposition, OSU’s foresters have already cut most or all of the trees marked in the ~64-acre ‘Woodpecker’ unit above Cronemiller Lake. To view more photos of the destruction, visit our Gallery page. Despite the dean’s false narrative, OSU has cut a significant number of large, old trees. Several were measured to be between 4 and 5 feet in diameter. Tree-ring counts verified many were between 100 and 150 years of age.

Dozens of citizens wrote sent thoughtful and compelling letters to president Murthy and the OSU Trustees urging them to reconsider the expansive thinning of this cherished, older forest. It is profoundly disappointing that neither president Murthy nor the trustees have been willing to respond to the public or hold the dean and his forest managers accountable for their antiquated approach to forestry. These folks are clearly out of touch with community values – and forest science!

The remains of recently cut older trees near Cronemiller Lake. The dean claimed, “the largest trees and legacy trees will be retained, unless they are structurally deficient and/or pose real hazard to infrastructure (nearby roads and structures) or recreational forest users.” We have seen no evidence any of the large, old trees that were cut fall into these categories.

6/27/24: GT Covers OSU Forestry Debacles: Today’s frontpage story of the Corvallis Gazette Times covered TWO major OSU forestry debacles:  their June 5th forest planning meeting and OSU’s plans to cut scores of old trees near Peavy Arboretum (their ‘Woodpecker’ cut).  It is very important to note that OSU has described the current delay in logging as, “a pause, not a halt”. College leaders are clearly digging in their heels and planning to proceed just as soon as they can justify the cutting. 

You can read the Gazette Times article here:

Raising Alarm About Forest – Part One
Raising Alarm About Forest – Part Two

The entire Letters to the Editor’ section of today’s edition of the GT was filled with messages from our supporters protesting OSU’s planned logging!  A HUGE THANKS to all of you who submitted LTE’s and wrote the OSU president on behalf of the forest!  If you haven’t yet done so, now is a good time to contact the OSU administration to express your concerns. You can find the contacts in our latest email update.

6/24/24: OSU’s Latest Logging Project Will Damage Popular Older Forest Near Peavy Arboretum: In what will likely become the College of Forestry’s biggest public relations nightmare since their destruction of 16 acres of old growth forest in 2019, OSU is now planning to cut scores of older trees across 64 acres in what is arguably the most popular recreation area in the McDonald Forest (near Cronemiller Lake and the ‘Loop 36 Trail’). Dozens of outraged citizens have already contacted president Murthy asking her to halt this ill-conceived “harvest”. Add your voice to the chorus of condemnation. For details and contact information, read my latest blog post: OSU’s ‘Woodpecker Thin’ Reveals Greed and Arrogance of College Leaders

This older tree is just one of dozens that OSU foresters falsely believe needs to be cut to “increase structural diversity”. There is NO scientific or research justification for thinning this 108 year-old stand!

6/5/24: OSU’s Forest Planning Meeting Shows Glaring Lack of Competency: On June 5th 2024, College leaders hosted a “community input session” to present their first round of modeling for the emerging McDonald-Dunn Forest Plan. Approx. 70 concerned citizens expressed their disapproval of OSU’s forest planning process, its destructive management of the McDonald-Dunn Forests, and the glaring deficiencies of their modeling and metrics for these public forests. The result was a remarkably disgraceful performance for OSU’s forest planning team.

Nearly every aspect of OSU’s forest planning was heavily criticized by both citizens and OSU experts alike. Their biodiversity metric was based on six taxa chosen by an undisclosed “panel of experts”. It ignores the fundamental importance of the diversity of organisms in the soil and seems designed to conclude that heavily managed forests are more diverse. This in itself is amazing, considering the dean is an expert in soil science.

OSU’s “wildfire resistance” modeling falsely concludes the scenarios with more industrial forestry have lower fire risk than those with older stands (directly contradicting OSU’s own research which shows that industrial forest lands burn with greater frequency and severity than natural stands). OSU’s planning team unsurprisingly concluded there is little difference in “recreation acceptability” between tree farms/clearcuts and older forest reserves! These are just a few of the highlights from the nearly three hour long meeting.

To get a flavor of the meeting, read my article in The Corvallis Advocate: OSU Feels The Heat of Forest Planning Ire. A shorter version of my article was published on (an environmental news site that reaches ~10,000 people in the PNW). This media exposure is a very important achievement. Thousands more Oregonians are now aware of OSU’s destructive management of these public forests.

OSU’s forest planning debacle is all sadly predictable. The dean’s “Faculty Planning Committee” lacks expertise in forest carbon, ecological and informed views of wildfire science. 9 of 11 members come from the College of Forestry (even though OSU has 11 Colleges). This glaring lack of diversity seems like it was designed to promote the dean’s antiquated “working forest” research regime.

For more information about OSU’s planning process for the McDonald-Dunn, refer to my blog pieces:

OSU Forest Planning Update: interpreting the College of Forestry’s ‘management strategies’ for our public forests

“Traditional vs. Collaborative” – how OSU’s leaders are violating their collaborative commitment to forest planning

5/17/24: OSU Trustees Still Won’t Respond to Questions: I attended the meeting of the OSU Trustees to once again ask them to respond to my questions about OSU’s forest planning process. It is difficult to see how the trustees can fulfill their obligations under State law when they won’t even acknowledge questions (let alone answer them). You can read my letter to the OSU Trustees and president Murthy here.

1/17/24: Conflicts of Interest and Ethical Failures Taint OSU Leadership & Forest Planning Process: I attended the meeting of the OSU Trustees and submitted 11 pages of comments. President Murthy and the trustees have continued to ignore my messages, despite the board chair’s promise to respond to public testimony. You can read my detailed written comments here.

Google Earth Time Lapse from 1984 to 2022 showing the liquidation of older stands in the Dunn Forest. How does this clearcut forestry contribute to OSU’s research and educational mission? Dunn Forest outlined in blue, OSU Ag. lands in green.

11/13/23: OSU’s Elliott Effort IMPLODES: In a truly extraordinary announcement, president Murthy announced OSU is no longer in a position to participate in management of the Elliott State Research Forest.

Regretfully, I find the current trajectory of the planning process is on a course that will fail to deliver the public good anticipated and falls well short of the ‘world class research forest’ envisioned by the State, OSU, Tribal Nations, and other stakeholders who have been engaged in the planning process.

You can read president Murthy’s letter here and the dean’s email announcing the withdrawal here

For the deeper insight and independent analysis, read my blog piece:  OSU’s Elliott Implosion.

Without a doubt, this is a colossal failure for the dean and his Elliott team, whose “working forest” approach was eviscerated by their critics.  As I wrote in my recent comments,  OSU’s forest management plan for the Elliott is:

both outdated and fundamentally inconsistent with a modern research forest. It reflects a bygone, extractive era and mentality that judged a forest ecosystem based largely on how much timber it produced.

For critics of the Elliott process and OSU’s antiquated, timber-centric research approach, this abrupt announcement is a vindication of our efforts. 

(slash burning in OSU’s Dunn Forest, 2021)

10/27/23: OSU researchers find ‘deeply alarming’ climate trends:  A new climate report, led by Oregon State University researchers, says life on Earth is “under siege” as the planet’s health declines.  With the timber industry far and away our state’s largest emitter of CO2, one wonders why the College of Forestry is using antiquated industrial forestry practices in the “research forests”.  President Murthy and the OSU Trustees must put a stop to clearcutting and slash burning in the McDonald-Dunn Forests.  This is not “leadership in forestry education”!

10/9/23:  The Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL) provided the following update for the Elliott State Research Forest:

An updated draft Forest Management Plan for the Elliott State Research Forest has been released and the public comment period is now open. To review the draft plan and provide your comments, visit OSU’s Elliott State Research Forest webpage.

In typical fashion, DSL and OSU initially gave us 18 days to comment on OSU’s (~800-page) Forest Management Plan (FMP) for the Elliott.  After many complaints, they extended the deadline until November 8th, 2023.  [Federal agencies typically use a 45-60 day public comment period, and allow up to 180 days (or more) for complex rule-making.]  OSU and DSL have routinely relied on abbreviated public comment periods throughout the Elliott process, diminishing public engagement.

5/24/23:  Friends of OSU Old Growth supporters joined Sunrise Corvallis members for a protest of OSU’s antiquated forestry practices in front of the Kerr Administration building.  The OSU administration did not respond.


3/3/23:  I attended the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference (PIELC) at the University of Oregon, with an engaging display highlighting the mismanagement of OSU’s McDonald-Dunn Forests.  The slice of the ~440 year-old tree (which was cut during OSU’s destruction of the old growth in 2019) got a lot of attention.  I had dozens of conversations with a diverse group of people who were curious to learn how our nation’s “leader in forestry education” is falling short.

11/7/22: The College of Forestry held their second “community listening session” for the McDonald-Dunn forest planning process.  Approx. 60 people attended, including many of our supporters.  An overwhelming majority of comments were critical of OSU’s forestry practices (and no one praised them).  You can find my Letter to the Editor reporting on the meeting here.

8/31/22: OSU held their first “listening session” for the McDonald-Dunn Forest planning process.  ~20 people attended in person and a few dozen via Zoom.  In typical OSU fashion, we were directed to answer three questions – and criticism of the planning process was sidelined.  College leaders are clearly violating their commitment to a collaborative planning process.  You can find more details in our most recent blog pieces.

9/29/21: OSU is once again the center of controversy for the cutting of old trees. This time, it’s cottonwood trees (a ‘keystone species’) on their Trysting Tree golf course, near Corvallis. The Corvallis Gazette Times broke the story in a relatively tame front-page story. To understand how OSU and the OSU Foundation are mixed up in this debacle, read our in-depth blog piece.

Aerial photos showing how the development of OSU’s golf course has decimated the Willamette River Greenway habitat – in violation of their conditional use permit.

8/4/2021: The College of Forestry Dean announced that OSU will no longer be seeking ownership of the Elliott State Research Forest. This is a major inflection point in the multi-year Elliott saga. To read the letter from the Dean and the Director of the Oregon Dept. of State Lands, click here.

11/19/20: The Elliott Advisory Committee is scheduled to hold its final meeting from 2-5 p.m. on Thursday, November 19th. The public is welcome to attend. Register on the DSL website, or click here.

11/10/20: In response to our criticism, the Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL) has extended the deadline for public comments on OSU’s proposal for an Elliott State Research Forest to 5 p.m. on Sunday, November 29th. To learn more, read our blog pieces on the Elliott: OSU – Elliott Update and Compromising the Elliott State Forest…

10/20/20: The Department of State Lands (DSL) began a short public engagement process soliciting feedback on OSU’s proposal for an Elliott State Research Forest. Your feedback is urgently needed to ensure the final proposal will prioritize research focused on carbon storage, wildlife and ecology. The current proposal will cut thousands of acres of older trees under the guise of “ecological forestry”. To learn more and find links to submit feedback, read this blog piece on OSU’s proposal for the ESRF.

9/28/20: The Elliott Advisory Committee held a zoom video conference with OSU and Department of State Lands (DSL) staff. Members of the public were allowed to observe, as OSU staff presented their latest draft proposal for an Elliott State Research Forest (ESRF). To learn more, read this blog update on the OSU – Elliott process and OSU’s problematic proposal for “self-governance” of the ESRF.

9/22/20: Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) released their Timber Wars Podcast, a 7-part series chronicling the battle over old growth that started the Pacific Northwest’s “timber wars”. This remarkable series provides an exceptionally rich and compelling “must-listen” history, one that includes a number of OSU experts (and Friends supporters). We owe podcast host/producer Aaron Scott and the OPB team a huge debt of gratitude for this amazing series! The original music by Laura Gibson adds a sublime richness to the series.

8/4/20: OPB, The Oregonian and ProPublica publish their 2nd exposé in their ground-breaking series about Oregon forestry issues. This one deals with the Oregon Forest Resources Institute (OFRI), a publicly-funded organization that has a long history of advocacy on behalf of the timber industry. It is particularly disturbing to read how OFRI has worked to undermine, suppress, and politicize ground-breaking research from OSU’s College of Forestry. Another “MUST READ” article for all Oregonians:

7/1/20: OSU’s new president, F. King Alexander, replaces Ed Ray who steps down after 17 years. Dr. Tom DeLuca assumes the Deanship of the College of Forestry, replacing Interim Dean Anthony Davis. With a background in forest soil science and ecosystem ecology, we are hopeful the new Dean will bring much needed changes to the priorities of the College and management of the Research Forests.

You can learn more about Dean DeLuca here:

6/11/20: OPB, The Oregonian and ProPublica publish a ground-breaking article exposing how Wallstreet investment funds took control of Oregon’s private forests, removing more than $3 billion from our tax base over the past three decades. This compelling article is a “MUST READ” for all Oregonians:

5/6/20: OSU’s College of Forestry announces a trial reopening of the Research Forests to recreational activities (following their earlier closure due to COVID-19 concerns). To read more visit OSU’s recreation update:

3/23/20: OSU’s College of Forestry announces an immediate closure of all Research Forests due to the pandemic. To understand why this was a short-sighted decision read our latest blog piece:

You can read the College’s latest forest updates here:

12/10/19: The Oregon Land Board met with the Elliott Advisory Committee, OSU, and other parties in Salem to get an update on OSU’s proposed management plans for the Elliott State Forest. You can read all about it in our Blog section:

Several Friends members testified. Founder, Doug Pollock, was quoted widely in the press:

Portland Tribune:

Corvallis GT:

Medford Mail Tribune:

12/9/19: OSU names new Dean of the College of Forestry:

The new Dean, Dr. Thomas DeLuca, will start at OSU on June 30th, 2020. With his strong background in conservation (including a stint at the Wilderness Society), we are hoping he will bring much-needed changes to the College of Forestry.

Old-growth tree in Sulphur Springs stand, now protected!

11/21/19: The Corvallis Advocate selects Friends of OSU Old Growth founder, Doug Pollock, as the community’s “Most Impactful Person of 2019”:

Wildlife snag burned by OSU Research Forest staff at ‘No Vacancy’

11/15/19: OSU’s research forest staff burned the slash piles at ‘No Vacancy’. Approx. 50 piles were burned, consuming an estimated 800-1000 tons of wood, and releasing an enormous amount of carbon into our atmosphere. The Dean, OSU administration and Board of Trustees ignored requests to not burn the slash. For more pictures of the burning, go to our “Gallery”.

You can read the series of emails sent to the Dean, OSU administration, and Board of Trustees here:

11/4/19: The OSU Barometer (student newspaper) publishes their first article dealing with the cutting of the Old Growth: (Note: the original version of the article ran with a picture of an old-growth forest – not even on OSU property! )

10/21/19: Protection of the Sulphur Springs Old-Growth Stand!!! The Interim Dean of the College of Forestry, Anthony Davis, announced that the remaining 36 acres of Old Growth near Sulphur Springs has been, “reclassified into our mature forest reserves” (Old Growth). He also made a formal “un-suspension” of the 2005 research forest plan, “until the new, collaboratively developed forest management plan is complete”. These are truly momentous developments that are a direct result of our group’s advocacy. We appreciate the Dean’s leadership in making these positive changes. You can download the full text of the Dean’s letter here:

Norm Johnson reads Merwin’s “Unchopping a Tree”, Photo by Kent Fields

10/20/19: Those who missed our Forest Memorial Service can find pictures in the Gallery section or read the following articles:

Corvallis Gazette Times:

Eugene Weekly:

10/20/19: Everyone is invited to attend a Forest Memorial Service to honor the grove of ancient trees that Oregon State University’s College of Forestry “mistakenly” clear-cut in May. The “No Vacancy” cut in the McDonald-Dunn Research Forest destroyed 16 acres of ancient trees, including at least one Douglas-fir dating to Shakespearean times — 1599. 

During the memorial service, Kim Stafford, Oregon Poet Laureate, will read poems for the trees. Essayist Kathleen Dean Moore will read a meditation she wrote for the forest. The vocal group, Absolute Harmony, will perform songs. Jill McAllister, minister for the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Corvallis, will officiate the service.  Stay for conversation, cider, and donuts after the service.

We’ll be hosting the memorial service outside, rain or shine. Please bring your raincoats and umbrellas. We encourage you to carpool or use alternative transportation, as parking is limited. Corvallis Transit Service Bus Route 6 stops on Goodnight Avenue, which is a short walk to the Rotary Shelter in Willamette Park.

Everyone is welcome.

Sunday, October 20
3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Willamette Park Rotary Shelter

1350 SE Goodnight Ave

10/1/19: Debora and Norman Johnson’s powerful “As I See It” is published in the Corvallis Gazette Times: No one speaks with more authority and credibility when it comes to OSU’s forest plans, so their scathing critique is of great significance.

9/29/19: Doug Pollock’s essay, “Seeds of Change in the College of Forestry“, provides some perspective and direction for changing the College’s approach to their management of the OSU research forests. The 10-step “Seeds of Change” at the end is a blueprint for repairing the research forest management.

9/25/19: Debora and Norm Johnson publish their assessment of OSU’s (lack of) compliance to their 2005 Research Forest Plan. This 21-page paper is an excellent scientific review of the subject:

9/19/19: The Corvallis Gazette Times publishes Doug’s “Letter to the Editor” detailing violations of the research forest plan:

8/28/19: OSU’s College of Forestry holds public meeting at Adair. One person summed up the sentiment: ” You didn’t think we were paying attention. It’s going to take more than one meeting. We are all wary and ready to go. You have kicked the dog.” Read the Corvallis Gazette Times summary of the meeting here:

8/19/19: OSU’s College of Forestry announces “two information sessions for the public regarding OSU’s 10 research forests and the creation of new individual forest management plans to guide the future of those tracts.”: Note: OSU has reported the 2nd session will be rescheduled due to a schedule conflict.

8/25/19: Our 2nd Friends hike to ‘No Vacancy’ and the Sulphur Springs Old Growth:

8/9/19: Our 1st Friends hike to ‘No Vacancy’ and the Sulphur Springs O G – a great turn-out (45 people)!

Inspecting an Old-Growth Stump – ‘No Vacancy’ hike

7/26/19: The Corvallis Gazette Times publishes powerful “As I See It” by distinguished environmental writer and philosopher, Kathleen Dean Moore:

7/26/19: The Oregonian (Rob Davis) publishes damning indictment of Dean and Research Forest management, eroding OSU’s credibility with the Elliott:

7/24/19: Corvallis Advocate Publishes Updated Story:

7/23/19: OSU old-growth cutting scandal hits the front page of!!!

7/23/19: State Library of Oregon eClips has our photo and link to GT article on their front page:

7/23/19: KMTR/NBC Eugene runs OSU-biased story on news channel:

7/22/19: (The Oregonian) runs Associated Press story: “Oregon State halts old growth logging after loss of 400-year-old tree” (this is an example of a very confusing AP-fed story – with generic OSU picture, truncated coverage and no mention of our group)

7/21/19: Corvallis Gazette Times publishes story: “OSU pauses old growth logging”:

7/17/19: Corvallis Advocate breaks our story with Op-Ed piece:

7/12/19: I met with Dean Davis and toured the Sulphur Springs O G stand and recent Old Growth harvest area. Two hours later, the Dean sent out a letter announcing sweeping changes in how the Research Forests will be managed:

It is important to point out the Dean’s directives are temporary and will be superseded by the next Research Forest Plan (and we already have serious concerns about the planning process).