For nearly a year, the Forest Service patiently accepted the presence of the protesters at Warner Creek. But after the Clinton administration announced that logging would be at least delayed at Warner Creek, the agency's attitude toward the protesters changed abruptly.
officers moved in rapidly on Aug. 16, arresting a reporter and a
photographer with the Eugene Register-Guard, along with five
activists. They seized and examined the journalists' notes and
developed the film to search for evidence that they had trespassed
in a closed area. That raised First Amendment fears among
journalists, although the officers returned the material early the
Forest officials claimed their
actions had nothing to do with logging or sour grapes.
"We don't know what's going
on (with the administration's negotiations for a buyout or land
exchange with lumber company Thomas Creek)," said forest spokesman
Mike Morris. "This has been illegal occupancy of a public land, and
vandalism and blockage of a public road. We are in the middle of a
fire season; we have bow-hunting season about to start; people who
have been going (to Warner Creek) for years want access to the
Environmentalists didn't take the
breakup of their encampment sitting down. Three days later, at the
arraignment of four young protesters who went by the names Hemlock,
Lupine, Madrone and Raven, some 250 activists converged on the Lane
After county sheriff's officers
would only let one protester into the arraignment room, the crowd
stormed the building. A demonstrator broke a window, igniting a
scuffle that resulted in the arrest of 39 people. Police used stun
guns and grabbed protesters by the hair and neck as activists
chanted, played drums and
"They were brutal. I was
dragged down the hallway by my hair and carried through the jail
with my arms in handcuffs and my pants down to my knees," said Tim
Ream, who gained national attention earlier this year when he
fasted for 75 days in protest of Warner Creek. "By the end, I could
pull my hair out of my head in clumps."
after the arrests, the Agriculture Department said it and Thomas
Creek Lumber and Log were close to signing an agreement to stop the
smaller Warner Creek sale. Still, the Forest Service crackdown
showed the fragility of the activists' success.
"The key word in most of this talk is temporary," activist Otter
said. "(One sale) is temporarily taken away from the threat of
logging, but it can always come back."