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Ore. Logging Protesters Dispersed

July 8, 2000

ESTACADA, Ore. (AP) _ The Forest Service drove anti-logging protesters from trees and roadblocks in the Mount Hood National Forest on Friday, breaking up a four-year effort to block the harvest of a timber sale.

Three women and a 17-year-old girl were cited with failure to obey a Forest Service closure order, a federal misdemeanor. At least six hours after being ordered to leave, the activists had stayed in cargo nets and makeshift tree platforms rigged to block access to the timber stand, officials said.

Forest supervisor Gary Larsen said a dozen protesters complied immediately when federal officers ordered them out about 4:30 a.m. Two women left or were removed about six hours later and one about 1 p.m. The girl, who had rigged a noose that was attached to supports for her cargo net, left about 2:30 p.m.

Some activists alleged that federal officials endangered their lives in the way they conducted the raid.

But Larsen said, ``I’m confident every last one of our law enforcement officials performed in a highly respectable manner.″

The activists argue the logging threatens Portland’s water supply, could harm rare plants and animals, and will destroy centuries-old trees. The Forest Service counters that the harvest complies with environmental and water standards and the stand would benefit from thinning.

Environmentalists have tried to stop the harvest ever since the timber was sold in 1996. The on-site protest started last summer with activists living in trees and camping in the area. In May, they began to rig the cargo nets and tree platforms over the road and suspend themselves inside.

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