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Tree-Sitters Are Down but Not Out

The State

Pacific Lumber declares victory in a feud over redwood logging. But the activists vow to fight on.

May 10, 2003|Emily Gurnon | Special to The Times

To some critics, Pacific Lumber's ad campaign looks like a desperate attempt by a struggling company to rally support in the face of mounting headaches.

In addition to dealing with tree-sitters, Pacific Lumber is facing financial troubles and a fraud suit filed by newly elected Humboldt County Dist. Atty. Paul Gallegos. (Gallegos is facing a recall campaign, but the company denies any involvement.)

"They're doing poorly in every respect, so they're looking for a scapegoat," said Darryl Cherney, a longtime activist with Earth First!, an environmental group. "These ads do appear to be the last flails of a dying beast."

In response to the Pacific Lumber ads, a newly organized pro-Gallegos group aired its own TV ad, featuring a local logger speaking in support of the district attorney's lawsuit.

After the ad began airing, the logger, Chompers Cook, 45, said he went dancing at a local "cowboy-logger bar" and -- to his surprise -- other loggers wanted to shake his hand.

"I expected a whole lot of guff over it," Cook said, "and what I got was a whole lot of praise."

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