All Aboard The Clearcut Express!
Five years ago, Oregon Wild launched round one of our “Welcome to Oregon, Home of the Clearcut” campaign with a billboard attaching those words to an image of a large clearcut. We ended up wading in to a free-speech court battle with the Port of Portland when they refused to run our design in the Portland Airport. After a court victory, we had the chance to try again. For the month of March 2018, we shifted our efforts to Tri-Met (Portland’s public transit system) where our message could reach the city’s population, as an 80-foot image of Oregon’s clearcuts cruised around Portland on the side of a MAX train.
The message on the “Clearcut Express” (as we dubbed the train) was meant to draw attention to Oregon’s weak logging laws, as well as our state’s often unearned reputation for being “green” and sustainable. Healthy forests, rivers, and outdoor recreation are some of the main reasons people love the State of Oregon, but those same people are often surprised when they head to the coast and drive through Oregon’s industrial logging lands. Government agencies, and the logging industry, spend millions of dollars marketing Oregon as a place with strong laws that protect forests, water, and wildlife, despite the fact that Oregon has the most out-of-date logging regulations in the region. Clearcuts dominate vast landscapes, and state law leaves up to 2/3rds of our stream network vulnerable to logging without buffers. Add on the herbicides being applied to clearcuts by helicopter, the increased risk of landslides threatening humans and fish, and the monocrop tree-farms replacing diverse forests, and it’s not hard to see why so many Oregonians are highly critical of Oregon’s logging operations.
The Clearcut Oregon ad featured photographs of clearcuts taken in Oregon’s Coast Range, where our Forest and Watershed campaign focuses on supporting communities and local citizens who are organizing against clearcutting and aerial spray in their forests and drinking watersheds. We are working with community groups from Coos Bay to Astoria with a goal of modernizing Oregon’s logging laws to reflect current science and values. The Clearcut Express brought the everyday experience of rural and coastal Oregonians into view for Portland residents and visitors. We’ll need their support to help us accomplish our goals of changing our state logging laws and making Oregon the green state it purports to be.
Take Action!: For more information on the Clearcut Oregon ad, and our Forest and Watershed Campaign - check out www.clearcutoregon.com