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Forest Lawsuit Against The State Turns Into A Class Action

Oregon Circuit Court Judge Daniel Murphy has ruled Linn County’s suit against the state can become a class action.

That means 14 other counties and dozens of other taxing districts can join together to sue the state.

The chair of the Linn County Commission, Roger Nyquist, called it good news.

“In practical terms it moves the time line up it also I would think indicate to the state that the dollars involved here are a fairly big number and they ought to address the issue,” he said.

The lawsuit is seeking $1.4 billion dollars in damages.

Court filings show several timber companies are footing legal bills for the suit.

On the other side, environmental groups filed a motion to intervene arguing the state is required to balance timber harvest with other forest values like wildlife habitat, clean water and recreation.

A judge denied the motion in July saying the groups were not parties to the foresting contract.

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<p>A contractor sorts logs on Oregon Board of Forestry land in southern Oregon.&nbsp; </p>

Oregon Department of Forestry

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A contractor sorts logs on Oregon Board of Forestry land in southern Oregon. 

Kristian Foden-Vencil is a reporter and producer for Oregon Public Broadcasting. He specializes in health care, business, politics, law and public safety.