Operation Lorax


Solving for Forests, Wildfire & Climate Crisis: Issues, Facts, Solutions

Dominick A. Dellasala, Ph.D. Chief Scientist, Wild Heritage
Richard W. Martinson, Ph.D. Executive Directory, Worthy Garden Club

October 5, 2022

On Tuesday, October 5, Roger and Rick met with two member of Senator Merkley's staff to discuss forest management issues and look at how we can work directly with Senators Merkley and Wyden on reinstating the Eastside Screens. We also discussed the broader need for mature tree and forest preservation nationwide.

In preparation of that meeting and to summarize our views for other representatives and candidates, Dr. Dominick DellaSalla and Rick Martinson put together these brief "talking points". The idea was to present short issue statements and distinct action items that can be implemented now.


Mature and Old Growth Trees and Forests in Eastern and Central Oregon

To: Senator Ron Wyden, Senator Jeff Merkley

August 9, 2022

On August 9, Roger had an opportunity to meet with Senator Merkley in Portland. During that meeting he handed the Senator a copy of our response to the joint letter we received from Senators Merkley and Wyden. We worked with Dr. Dominick DellaSala and Dr. Bev Law in drafting this response. While it was easy to produce a letter thick with the supporting science, we chose to summarize the information and call for continuing efforts to preserve our few remaining old and mature forests.


The West Bend Project; Cutting Large Diameter Trees Inconsistent with the EIS, Science, Forest Health, Fire Suppression and Curbing a Climate Emergency

To: Senator Ron Wyden
Senator Jeff Merkley
Congressman Earl Blumenauer
Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici
Congressman Peter Defazio
Congressman Kurt Schrader
Representative Cliff Bentz

June 29, 2022

The day after Roger sent his letter, RIck Martinson, Worthy Garden Club's Executive Director sent this to a number of Oregon's congressional delegation.

This letter took a slightly different approach; discussing some of the language in the 2021 decision to downgrade the Eastside Screens rule to a "guideline".

We believe a personal perspective and an academic review are effective on their own, but together has the potential to compel action by our representatives.

We can't let this issue go. Large diamter trees figure prominently in recent studies on our climate emergency. Researchers are looking at this issue globally. As the saying goes, we must act locally to make a significant difference.


Codify the Protection of Big Trees

To Honorable Senator Ron Wyden

June 20, 2022

On June 28, Roger Worthington sent this plea to Senator Ron Wyden asking him to step up and defend the Eastside Screens rule -- a rule designed to protect mature trees greater than 21" diameter in forests on the east side of the Cascades in Oregon and southeast Washington.

The Trump administration gutted the rule in January 2021, just five days before he left office. The changes grant the Forest Service the OPTION of protecting large trees and working with the public on monitoring agency activities in the forest.

Roger's passionate request is a template for the support we hope to see from the public on this issue.

The time is now. If we don't act immediately, we're going to lose the opportunity to increase carbon sequestration, preserve a biodiverse world, maintain clean water, and provide recreational and social benefits.


Listen: Speaking For The Trees With Roger Worthington

June 2, 2022. The Bend Souce.

Roger Worthingtoger lives to ride his mountain bike, play with his dog Diggy, and drink beer with friends. He owns Worthy Brewing; Indie Hops - a hop breeding company in the valley and a law firm in Los Angeles that specializes in asbestos cancer.

He's the president of the Worthy Garden Club, a non profit whose mission is to help connect people to the natural world so we can become better stewards. Worthington joins the Bend Don't Break podcast to talk about his environmental stewardship, and his take on the recent extraction of big, carbon-storing trees in the Phil's Trail area of the Deschutes National Forest.



Protecting Carbon Rich Trees and Forests; Undoing Rollback of Eastside Screens; Focusing Investments Near Homes & Communities

To: Senator Ron Wyden, Senator Jeff Merkley

April 22, 2022

This letter is a bit out of sequence, but was sent by Roger to Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkeley back in April after an event with President Biden in Portland.

In the letter, Roger asks Wyden and Merkeley to slow the removal of large diameter trees in the name of wildfire suppression and forest health.

"Ongoing forest thinning projects under the guise of "wildfire suppression" need to hit the pause button so forest trustees can consider their impacts on climate change, biodiversity, freshwater reserves, and recreation-driven local economies. As a starter, I'm asking you to implore the Biden administration to undo the Trump rollback of the Eastside Screens protection for large carbon-rich, fire-resistant trees and intact roadless forests."


West Bend Forest Project; Please Hit the Pause Button, Again

To: Ms Holly Jewkes

April 18, 2022

This letter went to Holly Jewkes, Supervisor of the Deschutes National Forest, asking for additional information about what happened at the West Bend Project near Phil's Trail. What occurred during logging seems to contradict what was approved during the environmental analysis and documented in the Record of Decision. Approvals are nearly a decade old, and the Forest Service refused to put a hold on this small portion of the project to consider new science. They could have revised the decision but chose not to. We expect better decisions from those we trust to manage our public resources.


West Bend Project: Hit the Pause Button, Save Mature Ponderosas

To: Mayor Sally Russell

March 24, 2022

We sent this letter to Bend Mayor Sally Russell, County Commissioner Phil Chang and Deschutes Forest Supervisor Holly Jewkes on March 24, over a week before the mature ponderosa along Phil's Trail were removed.

In it, we summarize recent scientific findings related to climate change and fire resistance, and ask for a pause before approving removal of the trees.

It didn't work. But we included the letter as Exhibit 1 with the letter sent on April 18 to maintain the record. We are using this project to raise awareness of forest practices across the state and in our own backyard.


These photos document the removal of large diameter ponderosa along the Pine Drops trail in the Phil's Trail mountain biking trails complex. The stated objective of the harvest was to improve fire resistance and maintain mature forest structure. However, the oldest and largest trees were removed; the trees with the greatest fire resistance because of thick bark and high crown heights. The smaller trees that are more susceptible to fire were left, reducing the overall resistance to fire, decreasing carbon storage capacity, and threatening biodiversity within the project area. This doesn't make sense.