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Bull Run Watershed Newspaper Articles (1971 - 2001). The majority of the articles focus on the battle over logging in the Bull Run. Some of the earlier newspaper clippings were retrieved from the U.S. Forest Services newspaper collection files by the BRIG. 
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March 1991 paper by Douglas Larson, Should Clear-Cut Logging be Permitted in a Watershed Supplying Nearly all Drinking Water for the City of Portland Oregon?

There is perhaps no other water supply watershed in North America that has amassed so much concern, public involvement, controversy, and related paperwork, studies, committees (and a lot of BS) than the Bull Run watershed. The controversy has also led to many research papers. For an excellent summary overview of the issue, professional limnologist Doug Larson's presentation report to the State of Washington Water Research Center conference proceedings in March 1991, Should Clear-Cut Logging be Permitted in a Watershed Supplying Nearly All Drinking Water for the City of Portland Oregon?


On June 12, 1892, United States President Harrison signed legislation to reserve Portland's source of domestic water supply, the Bull Run watershed, from logging and human encroachment. The reserve protected 142,080 acres of primarily forested land, of which 67,329 acres belonged to the hydrographic boundaries of the Bull Run watershed.  In 1904, the reserve was amended by Congress at the request of Portland residents and officials, called the Bull Run Trespass Act. The federal legislation made it a crime for anyone to knowingly enter the reserve "except forest rangers and other persons employed by the United States to protect the forest".

In 1952, a U.S. Forest Service District Manager wrote an internal subversive report, A Plan of Approach to Better Management of the Bull Run Watershed, to change the City of Portland's administrative and protective thinking about the Bull Run. This internal report was discovered through a freedom of information request in 1987, long after the 1973-1976 court case. It's contents were then presented to Portland Council meeting, and only publicized in a small newspaper (see newspaper articles below, December 7, 1987). Had this document been discovered earlier, it may have provided critical 'enlightenment' to Judge Burns' considerations and ruling on the court case. It was this conspiratorial document, and the related unfolding actions by the U.S. Forest Service and the local timber industry, which brought about the logging and degradation of Portland's pristine water supply, with more than 300 miles of road construction.

Logging and roadbuilding began in 1958. Thirteen years later, the U.S. Forest Service planned to open the watershed to recreation, as part of its controversial and self-interested industrial mandate, known as Multiple-Use. When news of this was circulated in the newspapers in 1971, it alerted Dr. Joseph Miller Jr., a local medical doctor, who happened to live near the Bull Run watershed. Dr. Miller was disturbed and suspicious over why the Forest Service desired to promote recreational activities in the public's water supply, which citizens thought was closed to the public, and he soon discovered that it was part of a plot to make the public receptive of the Forest Service's assault of the Bull Run watershed. In 1973, after conducting a series of investigations, Joe Miller and his wife Amy, the Oregon Environmental Council, and the Northwest Environmental Defence Center launched a court case against the U.S. Forest Service for trespassing in the Bull Run watershed, with the City of Portland's Water Bureau, and somewhere between 16-18 logging companies, joining in to support the Forest Service. In 1976, Judge Burns ruled in favour of the Millers et al., and logging was halted. It was an extremely important and highly embarrassing ruling which confounded the Forest Service, the timber industry, and Portland's Water Bureau (which somehow transformed its policy against logging to advocating it).

In November of 1977, the U.S. Senate repealed the Bull Run Trespass Act to permit logging in the Bull Run, despite a Senate Committee's report which recommended the opposite. It was an evil turn of events backed by forest industry power brokers. This, however, did not stop those who wanted to protect the Bull Run. Though dejected, they continued to wage their struggle to end logging for 18 more long years. In September of 1996, President Clinton passed an Act to restore the protection of the Bull Run from commercial logging.  Ironically, it was the same Senator who sided for logging in the 1977 Senate decision who now voted to protect the Bull Run.

Citizens who fought against the Bull Run watershed logging formed the Bull Run Interest Group (BRIG), and later, the Citizens Interested in Bull Run, Inc (CIIBRI). Through the years they amassed a great number of documents and circulated a newsletter, called the Bull Run Open Newsletter (BRON), #s 1-94. These accumulated documents are located in Portland's public library, called the BRIG File, in a dedicated filing cabinet with five drawers.  In 1995, Dr. Joseph Miller donated his files to Portland's Oregon Historical Society, and may be available for viewing at the Oregon History Center building in Portland (Dr. Miller passed away in August 2007).

The moral of this long drawn out saga is: keep logging out of your drinking water sources, which, in turn, will bring many positive benefits to society, and just let the goose keep laying the golden eggs.