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Federal Judge Hears Challenge To Thurston Hills Logging Project

Rachael McDonald

A Eugene federal judge heard argumentsThursday in a lawsuit that seeks to stop a logging project on the outskirts of Springfield. 

The Pedal Power timber sale is on 100 acres of Bureau of Land Management land adjacent to the Thurston Hills Natural Area. As part of the project, BLM would build a mountain bike trail system to connect to the park.

Conservation groups Cascadia Wildlands and Oregon Wild sued, claiming the project doesn’t put enough of a buffer between the logged land and the trails. They also contend that cutting down trees will contribute to fire risks.

This is the second time the project has been challenged in federal court. In 2019, a federal judge ruled the BLM had to to conduct a new environmental assessment for the project. Plaintiffs lawyers say the new EA is not adequate.

Attorneys for the BLM and Seneca Sawmill argue the project is a win-win for recreation and timber jobs. Federal Magistrate Judge Mustafa Kasubhai says he'll issue a ruling in the coming weeks. 

Copyright 2021 KLCC.

Rachael McDonald is KLCC’s former News Director. Rachael has a BA in English from the University of Oregon. She started out in public radio as a newsroom volunteer at KLCC in 2000. After reporting for the Northwest News Network and KAZU, Rachael returned to KLCC in 2007 as Morning Edition host and a general assignment reporter covering politics, the environment, education, and the arts. She was hired as KLCC News Director in 2018. Rachael departed KLCC in June, 2022.
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