chapter  10
22 Pages

“Save French Pete”: Evolution of Wilderness Protests in Oregon

On 15 November 1969, “Mobilization Day,” Vietnam moratorium demonstrations brought out the largest anti-war crowds of the era. Over 700,000 marched in Washington, D.C., that day and many more across the nation. ree days later, another set of moratorium marches occurred in Eugene and Portland, Oregon’s two largest cities.2 is second call for a moratorium was not aimed at the war; it was aimed at logging in the valley of French Pete Creek in the western Cascade Mountains. Forest Service historian Gerald Williams surmised that this was the rst public demonstration against national forest policy ever held. In Eugene, an estimated crowd of 1,500, comprising students from the University of Oregon and community members, marched to the headquarters of the Willamette National Forest. A new student organization, Nature’s Conspiracy, coordinated the rally with support from the community-based Save French Pete Committee. One agency o cial observed at the time, “Never again will it be ‘business as usual’ for the Forest Service.”3 Another observer described the crowd as “bearded, long-hair students, . . . girls with long stringy hair, and clean-cut persons as well.” Messages printed on the signs they carried included “Make Love, Not Lumber” and “Keep Oregon Green-Save French Pete.” e same day, a smaller group marched from Portland State University to the regional o ce of the Forest Service, where they met with the regional forester Charles Connaughton.4