May 29, 2021: A Local Story Reported by Blaine, Oregon Citizens
Imagine you live on land you consider sacred — meadows, orchards, woods, mountainsides, riverbanks near the Pacific Ocean, land you’ve protected for decades.
It’s organic. It’s beautiful. It’s quiet, bordered by more than a mile of river banks on The Big Nestucca River.
Imagine how you felt on that day, a couple of years back, when 99-acres of adjacent land, a 60° slope terminating in the beloved Nestucca, was clearcut.
The timber company, owners of the mono-culture tree plantation next door to you, cut every living tree in that parcel known as “Salary Cap,” right to the quick. What they left behind is a wasteland, now replanted with a new “crop,” more new trees to later be harvested. And it’s all standing right next door to your 33-acre organic, protected, sheltering sanctuary.
Fast forward to Spring 2021.
Imagine you walk out to your mailbox on your rural road in Blaine, Oregon on Thursday, April 15 and find a letter dated Tuesday, April 13, 2021.
The letter states that on Monday, April 19, 2021, less than two business days away, GreenWood Resources, owners of the tree plantation, will begin a “backpack spraying” operation on their 99 acres.
They will be using unidentified chemicals. You have no idea what the chemicals are intended to do. Very essential facts pertaining to your health are missing from the letter. But the letter does provide a stark warning:
Forestry operations can be interesting to observe, but it is important to keep a safe distance at all times. Please take the appropriate precautions so that neither people nor pets venture into active operation areas.
The letter also states,“We welcome your questions or concerns. However, no response is necessary.”
You learn that the spraying will go on for a continuous month beginning two business days from NOW.
You have no idea what to do with this inadequate chemical information.
So, you reach out for help — and you are able to do this ONLY BECAUSE YOU ALREADY KNOW WHERE TO REACH OUT FOR THAT HELP.
Very soon you understand, through use of the online interactive FERNS site (FERNS = Forest Activity Electronic Reporting and Notification System) that GreenWood Resources plans to use RoundUp Custom, Transline and Oust XP — all chemicals that sound science tells us are harmful to air, water, soil, mammals, aquatic life and human life.
Science also tells us that in combination, the effects of these chemicals could be much worse than use of any one product alone.
The folks who reached back to us and helped educate us are Nancy Webster and Glenna Gray of NCCWP — North Coast Communities for Watershed Protection. NCCWP is a good, longtime neighbor of ours in North Tillamook County, an hour north of Blaine.
In years past, we’ve contributed our writing to their fundraiser publications of poetry, essays and visual art. We’ve read our work at NCCWP’s public events, always a celebration of Good Environment Work. We’ve watched this outstanding organization fight The Good Fight for Clean Water over MANY YEARS.
They are people who know what it means, first-hand, for whole communities (Wheeler, Rockaway Beach) to lose clean water as the direct result of unsafe corporate timber practices.
Now NCCWP is helping us take on the steep learning curve ahead of us as we prepare our next actions to protect our watershed.
Above you can see a segment of a FERNS map that shows the four clearcuts on Blaine Road in South Tillamook County.
ALL FOUR are scheduled for spraying at the same time — planned for April + May 2021.
- The purple shapes indicate existing clearcuts. Transparent pink circles show the 2-mile radius, in other words the affected area around each planned and scheduled spray operation.
- The orange block represents a new clearcut planned for the same time span.
- We estimate spraying may affect a minimum of 350+ households from Blaine to Beaver.
- To our knowledge, only our household and one other was notified of the “Salary Cap” spray adjacent to our property in Blaine, Oregon.
> > UPDATE < <
On April 23, 2021, GreenWood Resources agreed to postpone the spraying of Salary Cap until Fall 2021 — and perhaps forever.
Spraying of this one site has now been paused until Fall 2021.
In our opinion, a law is needed to allow ALL CITIZENS of OREGON to receive at least one full month’s notice of spraying when finite water resources are near their private property, or rental property where they reside.
Drinking water sources—wells and springs —are all at risk for chemical exposure, as are vegetable gardens which are continuously exposed to chemical drift from GMO products used by agriculture on all commercial farms in the area.
Our neighbors have had no success In convincing the County of Tillamook to stop spraying along Blaine Road and the Upper Nestucca River Road where we diligently tend our properties, keeping weeds and overgrowth down.
It must be understood: If our water sources are exposed to chemical contaminants and become polluted, they can NEVER be returned to their current, life-sustaining, still-potable state.
Learn about pesticide spraying and clearcut logging activity near you.
Everyone is invited to join the North Coast Communities for Watershed Protection Steering Committee meeting that will be held on:
Monday, June 21, starting at 6:00 p.m.
An email with the meeting agenda and Zoom contact information will be sent out later.
Interactive Maps that Show Clearcut Logging and Pesticide Spraying Notifications throughout Oregon
Spray Free Coast created this map showing clearcut logging and pesticide spraying notifications that were submitted to FERNS through March 31, 2021. If you want more background information, go to the Spray Free Coast website which includes a FERNS tutorial and the Grassroots Organizing Resources page.
Coast Range provides maps to see who owns the industrial forestland near you.
Ecotrust has been working on coastal watershed mapping.
FERNS is the Forest Activity Electric Reporting and Notification System. It provides day-to-day notifications about forest management activities (where and what), including clearcut logging and aerial and hand-spraying of pesticides.