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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Views from the Northwest

Air Date: Week of

With the help of reporters in the Oregon and Washington, Living on Earth producer George Homsy pulled together this small sample of the divergent views from the people who live near, work in and enjoy the Pacific Northwest.


CURWOOD: While many people have positive feelings about the President's forest conference, few are underestimating the difficulty of the task. The issue has been a hot one for years, and if the President could interview the nearly ten million people who live in the Pacific Northwest, he would certainly get ten million different views on the problems. Of course, it's impossible for us to talk to nearly everyone there, or even a large percentage. But, with help from Oregon Public Broadcasting, KLCC in Eugene, and the Northwest Public Affairs Network, producer George Homsy put together a small sampler of some people and some viewpoints.

(Sound up, chanting crowds)

VOICE #1: I've got bills like everybody else. (Chainsaw sound) Can't pay 'em if you don't work. If you shut everybody down, it's gonna have a big impact on people more'n they think it's gonna be. It ? ? ? ? how our jobs gonna affect everybody, and people in the stores and everything. It's really gonna put a hurt on people now, and I don't think they understand that. ? ? figure out some way to protest.

VOICE #2: It's too bad that my relatives can't be here to testify for themselves. The birds can't be here to let you know their fear and their pain. None of the animals can be here to testify of their fear and pain, losing their shelter. You think about that. The wildlife can't lobby in Washington, DC. They can't do those things, they don't have a voice.

(Sound of protesters; police: "I'll give you guys exactly five minutes. Anybody that is not willing to go into custody step aside, otherwise we'll just start handcuffing. Five minutes.")

VOICE #3 : When the agenda gets to the point where the lies are starting to be believed all across America, and the people are starting to question, who are these maniacs in the Pacific Northwest who are cutting down these trees -- that's crazy. (Crowd: "Yeah!") Making a statement publicly, so what if the Pacific Northwest loses three or four thousand jobs? The owl is more important. That's crazy! (Crowd: "Yeah!) Stating that owls can only exist in old growth is what? (Crowd: "Crazy!") You guys are catching on. There's another one too.

VOICE #4: Those kinds of choices -- fisheries, owls, and so on -- those are "Sophie's Choices." Those are all lose-lose choices.

VOICE #5: Twenty years ago they tried to have this place called the Wild Rivers. And they get so it was like a park and that didn't work so they tried another thing, and that didn't work, so then they got the spotted owl. So, we knew it was coming.

VOICE #6 (film voiceover): Altogether, private forest owners here in Washington plant more than 35 million trees a year. And 85% percent of the trees survive. So even after normal thinning, the harvested forest will be entirely replaced. (Voices: "Look at that view." "Aw, man, some of us are working too hard to look.") Will we ever run out of trees? Not a chance. Not here in Washington. Not on private forest land. (Voices: "You think we have enough seedlings for this part?" fade out)

VOICE #7: And no, there is no shortage of Northern spotted owl in the Pacific Northwest. There are more out there, and you guys, I've followed this for a long time. There are more out there than anyone has ever dreamed.

CURWOOD: Oh, yes, and one other voice. (Sound of spotted owls) The Northern spotted owl. And for this week, that's Living on Earth.



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