“It’s absolutely insane.” We have already lost so much, now they are taking what we have left.

An investigation by OPB and the Oregonian uncovered fraud, abuse and waste by out-of-state contractors hired by the Oregon Department of Transportation to re-open Oregon’s scenic byways along the Clackamas, Santiam, McKenzie and Umpqua Rivers.

Numerous whistleblowers have come forward to report cutting of live, non-hazardous trees, drug use, excessive and fraudulent billing and clearcutting along Oregon’s wild and scenic rivers

Roadside cutting has severely altered popular campgrounds and rivers

Fraud, Waste and Abuse

The Oregonian reported explosive allegations by people working on the project.  For example, arborist Brian “Eubanks said access to the data-collection system that documents each tree being marked as hazardous, for later reimbursement by FEMA, was wide open. Other employees, he claims, were inputting trees to be cut under his name and arborist certification on days he wasn’t working.”

Flyover the Clackamas River

SILENCE FROM GOVERNOR BROWN

The legislature held two investigative hearings.  After hearing from the whistleblowers, Senator Prozanski called for a criminal investigation.  So far there has been silence from the Governor’s office.

Live trees marked to cut on private land along the Santiam Highway (22) between Lyons and Mill City.  The owner does not want these trees cut, and experts who reviewed the marking could not make sense of it.

experts examine trees marked to cut

“They were a bunch of inexperienced people from the Southeast U.S. that had no idea what they were doing…I can count on one hand how many actually hazardous trees I found after tagging close to 5,500 trees for removal.” 

Matt Allen, certified master arborist who worked on ODOT’s hazard tree removal project in the field

As reported by the Oregonian, “hundreds of millions of dollars will ultimately be spent on removing hazard trees and fire debris, a massive, lucrative project for a small set of disaster recovery firms that regularly swoop in and profit off the cleanup of natural disasters around the country.”

Do you want to see Oregon protect what is left, and take a cautious approach with our scenic byways and beloved river corridors?