How the state almost clearcut a scenic river

Protections were coming to the Nehalem River.

In late February, the state parks commission agreed the river that ambles through the heavily logged Coast Range should be designated as a scenic waterway. State water officials concurred.

Environmental groups had been pushing the cause for years. Calling the Nehalem scenic would require landowners and loggers to consult with parks officials on ways to reduce visual impacts of future clearcuts or other projects along the river.

All the designation needed was Gov. Kate Brown’s signature. The only time Brown designated scenic rivers, just four months lapsed between the formal recommendation and the governor’s order.

Yet when

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