March 10, 2022
The Oregon Legislature’s 2022 session ended Friday, March 4, with approval of several key Oregon State University initiatives, including conversion of the Elliott State Forest in southwestern Oregon into an OSU-managed research forest.
Lawmakers also backed funds for helping to launch an innovation district at OSU-Cascades in Bend and a housing project serving OSU’s marine studies programs and the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport.
They also invested in higher education programs to assist students transitioning to four-year universities in Oregon and support college expenses for enrolled tribal members. The Legislature also reestablished portions of a forest products harvest tax that funds programs in OSU’s College of Forestry.
“I’m very grateful for the support of public higher education and Oregon State University initiatives by Gov. Kate Brown and Oregon legislators,” said OSU Interim President Becky Johnson.
“Continued state investment in supporting student success will benefit thousands of students across Oregon. Within Oregon State University, legislative support for a new innovation district at OSU-Cascades, establishment of an Elliott State Research Forest, assistance for student, faculty and research partner housing at the Hatfield Marine Science Center and investments in many other university education, research and Extension programs will serve Oregonians and advance scientific discovery and our state’s economy.”
The Elliott State Forest consists of 82,520 acres in Douglas and Coos counties between Coos Bay and Reedsport in the Oregon Coast Range. It was designated in 1930 as Oregon’s first state-owned forest.
The legislative action converts the state forest into a research forest that with approval of the OSU Board of Trustees would be managed by the university. Following direction provided by the State Land Board in late 2019, OSU and the Department of State Lands began exploring how to turn the Elliott into a research forest. Since then, university leaders have worked with Department of State Lands and environmental, wildlife, forest, tribal and community stakeholders to create a framework for a research forest.
The bill approved by the Legislature includes the creation of an independent state entity that would own and have fiscal responsibility for the forest while contracting with Oregon State to conduct research and manage the forest. The OSU Board of Trustees has until July 1, 2023, to authorize the university’s role as forest manager. If operated as a research forest, the Elliott State Forest would remain open to public access.
Source: Oregon State University, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.
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