Officials consider public ownership of Elliott State Forest

SALEM, Ore. (AP) - The three officials responsible for Oregon's oldest state forest have staked out positions for its future, with two advocating continued public ownership and the third public ownership of old-growth areas.

The fate of the Elliott State Forest, in the Coast Range, is a hot-button issue, with many demanding it remain public even though logging operations that benefit the state's schools have been in the red in recent years.

Two members of the Oregon State Land Board voted in February to sell the 82,500-acre forest, with third member Gov. Kate Brown opposing.

On Thursday, State Treasurer Tobias Read, another member, agreed with Brown, suggesting Oregon State University eventually buy the forest.

Secretary of State Dennis Richardson said a plan must retain options for public ownership of old growth areas.

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