Timber Workplace Safety Bills Pass Oregon House

Timber Workplace Safety Bills Pass Oregon Housekrieger-wayne
Representative Wayne Krieger,

A pair of bills aimed at enhancing timber workplace safety passed the Oregon House of Representatives today on wide, bipartisan margins. House Bill 2595 makes the illegal obstruction of forest management activities a class “A” misdemeanor for the first offense and a class “C” felony for subsequent convictions, with violators facing 13 months of incarceration and a $25,000 fine. It passed the House on a 43-12 vote.

“This is about dangerous and destructive activities, and it’s about protecting workers and property,” said Rep. Wayne Krieger (R-Gold Beach), who carried the bill on the House floor. “But it still allows for lawful free speech and protest activities.”

Krieger said the bill was necessary due to logging protesters’ tactics, including the spiking of trees, digging of ditches on work sites, overturning vehicles and other destructive practices. They have also chained themselves to the doors of Secretary of State Kate Brown and Treasurer Ted Wheeler’s office, deliberately disrupted State Land Board meetings and thrown dog feces at Treasurer Wheeler.

Also passed by a wide margin today was HB 2596, which clarifies that contractors subject to illegal harassment may pursue remuneration for actual damages from persons conducting the illegal activities. It passed on a 51-4 vote.

Both bills were supported by the Oregon Association of Nurseries, Oregon Farm Bureau, Oregonians for Food and Shelter, Hancock Forest Management, Oregon Forest Industries Council, American Forest & Paper Association, Oregon Small Woodlands Association and Associated Oregon Loggers, Inc.

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