The State of Oregon has come up with a pricetag for a forest in Southern Oregon that it wants to sell.
The Elliott State Forest is worth $221 million, according to the Oregon Department of State Lands. That figure is based on a review process that included appraisals by three independent firms.
The Oregon Constitution requires the state to produce revenue from its forests for the Common School Fund. The state says requirements to protect wildlife like steelhead and northern spotted owls means logging the Elliott is no longer a feasible option.
Now that the state has decided on a value for the 82,500 acres it wants to sell, potential buyers will know how much they have to come up with. The state has a list of criteria that potential buyers must meet. They include protecting older forest stands and watersheds, ensuring public recreation, and providing at least 40 jobs annually for the next decade.
Department of State Lands Director Jim Paul said in a statement that the rigorous review of the land’s value included outreach with a variety of groups over two years.
“Our goal has always been to strike the right approach towards ensuring the Common School Fund is fully compensated, while also protecting a range of natural resources important to the public,” he said.
Prospective buyers have until Nov. 15 to submit their plans to acquire the acreage, which is located in Coos and Douglas counties near the south coast of Oregon.
Last year 49 organizations and individuals applied with the state to be eligible to purchase the Elliott State Forest. They included environmental groups like Cascadia Forest Defenders and Ecotrust, five American Indian tribes, logging companies such as A-1 Timber Consultants and Douglas County Timber Operators, and governments ranging from Douglas and Coos counties to the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management.