Court Decision Protects Polk County Forestland

Craig Beebe

The Oregon Court of Appeals delivered an important opinion November 9, when it blocked a proposed lot adjustment by Weyerhaeuser Real Estate Development Company in a forested area of Polk County. The proposal would have opened the area, which is productive for commercial forestry, to potential housing development. 1000 Friends stood with Polk County and our local affiliate Friends of Polk County to defend this area from Weyerhaeuser's plan, and celebrate the proposal.

The disputed area, totaling 250 acres, had once been separate lots in an un-built subdivision laid out in 1911. These original lots had been legally vacated by the 1983 landowner. Eventually, this area ended up in Weyerhaeuser’s ownership.

In 2010, Weyerhaeuser proposed to return the area to its original parcels from the century-old subdivision, with the apparent intent of developing the area for housing.  Friends of Polk County (FoPC) argued against the proposal because it represented an attempt by Weyerhaeuser to illegally return the land to an outdated status that had long been superseded, and it would harm the success of forestry in the area. The Polk County Board of Commissioners agreed, and denied Weyerhaeuser’s proposal.

Following a decision by Weyerhaeuser to appeal the matter at the Land Use Board of Appeals, FoPC worked with 1000 Friends of Oregon’s Cooperating Attorney Program to defend the county’s decision. Polk County also signed on to the case. LUBA agreed with the county’s decision, and this week's Court of Appeals opinion affirms LUBA’s ruling.

When local governments and land use advocates work together as we did in this case, Oregon’s vital forest and farm lands are better protected from unnecessary and unsustainable development. Forestry is an important industry in Polk County and much of rural Oregon, and this cooperation helps preserve its economic contributions to these areas. The forest sector makes up 6.9 percent of the Oregon’s total industrial output and contributes, on average, $12.6 billion to the state’s economy.  85 percent of the state’s timber is now harvested on private forest land – lands like those protected by this victory.

Read the full decision here:

For more information on the case, contact Steve McCoy, 1000 Friends Cooperating Attorney Program Manager, at

1000 Friends of Oregon's Cooperating Attorney Program helps connect land use attorneys with Oregonians around the state, who are fighting to defend farms and forests from development that harms their vital contributions to Oregon's economy. Your support makes successes like this possible. Please consider making a donation today. Thank you.