Before dawn this morning, four protesters were arrested after they allegedly blocked off the entry gate to Humboldt Redwood Co. property on Monument Road in Rio Dell.
According to a Humboldt County Sheriff's press release, when deputies arrived around 3:45 a.m. they found 15 protestors and a 24-foot ladder attached to the company’s gate and tied to several neighboring trees with one protester, Isabel Osheroff, having climbed to the top.
The logging company began timber harvesting plans along Rainbow Ridge, which lies in the Mattole River watershed west of Redcrest, earlier this month. Protests in this area first began July of 2018, when HRC initiated its logging activities on the ridge. Protesters then said they were trying to protect 1,100 acres of “pristine” forest (which they defined as trees that have not been logged) that mostly consisted of old-growth Douglas fir.
Michael John Gammariello, Brittany Krystal Soohoo and Georgia Hanrahan Doremus were arrested and booked into the Humboldt County jail on suspicion of trespassing, resisting arrest and impeding traffic. Sheriff's deputies, with the help of county public works employees, were able to safely take Osheroff down from the ladder, according to the release. She was also arrested on suspicion of trespassing.
An earlier press release sent by the Bay Area Coalition for Headwaters said protesters began demonstrating June 8, when a tree sitter climbed a centuries-old tree that he or she continues to occupy the tree. “The demonstration this morning is, in part, in solidarity and support of the tree-sitter, who goes by the name Rook,” the release stated.
Four arrested for trespassing during logging protest
Deputy attempts to safely remove protester from ladder while in a boom truck
On June 17, 2019, at about 3:42 a.m., Humboldt County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to Monument Road, in the county's jurisdiction of Rio Dell, for the report of protesters blocking an access gate to Humboldt Redwood Company property.
When deputies arrived on scene, they located about 15 protesters, in addition to an approximately 24-foot ladder standing in front of the gate, tethered to nearby trees with a subject at the top.
Three protesters, Michael John Gammariello, 32, Brittany Krystal Soohoo, 25, of Los Angeles, and Georgia Hanrahan Doremus, 32, of Arcata, were taken into custody and booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility on charges of trespassing, resisting arrest and impeding traffic.
Humboldt County Public Works responded and deployed a boom truck to assist deputies in lowering the ladder in front of the gate. The protester on the ladder, Isabel Xochitl Osheroff, 24, of Berkeley, CA, was safely taken into custody and booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility on charges of trespassing.
The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind the public to obey all laws when protesting a cause. Sheriff’s deputies will continue to respond as needed to Monument Road if further violations of state law occur.
From the Bay Area Coalition of Headwaters:
Petrolia, CA—In the predawn darkness this morning, a 40 ft. “mono-pod” blockade structure was erected in the road at the main access gate to controversial logging plans in the Mattole River watershed, and several people on the ground were arrested. Twenty people were on site to protest logging by Humboldt Redwood Co. (HRC) in the Rainbow Ridge area, where HRC first started operations in early June.
At least eight sheriffs’ vehicles arrived and immediately threw several people on the ground and subsequently arrested them, while they were standing on the public access road, ostensibly in a legal area. Lear Asset Management, the private security hired by HRC is also on site. So far reports are that several people were arrested and taken to jail, and there is a sitter in the pod.
Several trucks and heavy equipment have approached the gate and turned around.
The response of community members and activists has been swift and growing since the beginning of June when HRC began a long-controversial logging plan on Rainbow Ridge, prompting a public outcry and direct action protests. On June 8, a tree-sitter ascended a centuries-old tree, avoiding security patrols and drone flyovers, and has remained, despite harassment and serious endangerment by a Lear security climber last week. That hired climber cut down gear and heavy water jugs above the head of the sitter, sending supplies flying to the ground, and confiscated most of their food and water. The demonstration this morning is, in part, in solidarity and support of the tree-sitter, who goes by the name Rook.
On June 10, four septuagenarian local residents were arrested at a civil disobedience blockade at the gate, and now await trial.
One of the arrestees this morning said from jail, “People in the local community and from all over have been putting their bodies on the line to protect this forest for over 20 years, and this action is part of continuing that important legacy. We’re at a crisis point and we can’t just sit back and let corporations destroy the last remaining wild places on the planet. Humboldt Redwood Co. pretends to care about what the community wants, but HRC is acting like the old Maxxam/Pacific Lumber right now. People in this bioregion have a responsibility to make sure these forests remain standing. That’s why I was there today, and why we’re not going to stop.”
Community efforts to protect this coast Douglas fir, oak and madrone forest from industrial logging have been ongoing since the 1990s. These forests are unique and remote, harboring many threatened and rare species. See Lost Coast Leaguefor more information.
This logging also shines a light on the marketing of the lumber at outlets like Home Depot, who sell HRC’s forest products as sustainable, despite the heavy use of herbicides and cutting of legacy forests. That sustainable certification is being challenged as well.