County may renege on Pipe Fork sale

Williams, OR – Despite a January 2023 Letter of Intent to sell for preservation 320 acres of legacy forest protecting Pipe Fork, a pristine watershed, the Josephine County Commissioners have not accepted the Sept. 9 offer of $2,020,000 from respected land buyer The Conservation Fund.The sale has been in the works since January 2020 when the Williams Community Forest Project (WCFP) learned of a proposed clearcut on the property. This small grassroots organization mobilized the community to express their concerns to the county and other government agencies about the destruction the timber sale would cause to the local watershed.At the end of March 2020, the county commissioners postponed the timber sale due to the pandemic and postponed the sale again in 2021 as negotiations with WCFP to sell the property for preservation of the Pipe Fork old-growth watershed continued. WCFP kept working tirelessly to attract a buyer.On Sept. 9, The Conservation Fund offered Josephine County $2,020,000, the Yellow Book Appraisal amount, to purchase Pipe Fork. Although the commissioners meet every Wednesday, they have not put a motion forward to accept the offer, and the community is concerned.The WCFP is urging concerned Oregon residents to act now to encourage the Josephine County Commissioners to accept the $2 million offer, preserving a pristine watershed forest and generating much-needed revenue for the county.Cheryl Bruner, a leader of the effort to save Pipe Fork, said, “The Conservation Fund’s purchase of the Pipe Fork parcel benefits the economy and environment for all in Josephine County. WCFP invites the people of Josephine County to attend the Board of Commissioners public meetings, urge the commissioners to do the right thing – sell Pipe Fork to The Conservation Fund.”