OREGON DEMOCRACY PROJECT

Click here for Third ODP VideoBecause we believe Oregonians have a lot in common, Indivisible members from around the state created Oregon Democracy Project. ODP develops and disseminates messaging that conveys accurate information about Timber Unity (TU), counters Timber Unity disinformation and divisive, extremist messaging, and shares a positive and unifying vision for rural Oregon. 

#OregonBetterTogether   Oregon Democracy Project on Facebook ORDemocracyProject@gmail.com


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August 10, 2020

Overview of Timber Unity

 

  • Presented as a grassroots movement, Timber Unity consists of two corporations, a political action committee (PAC), and Facebook group. Timber Unity, Inc. is based in Portland where Andrew Miller and the main office of Stimson Lumber, Inc. are located, and Timber Unity Association, Inc. is based in West Linn, Oregon where Julie Parrish lives. Miller and Parrish also organized the PAC.
  • Reports have detailed violent threats, conspiracy theories, and racist messages some in Timber Unity have used to target political opponents. 
  • Timber Unity, formed in June of 2019 to oppose proposed climate change bills in the Oregon legislature.

 

Timber Unity PAC (TUPAC)

 

  • PAC organizers - Andrew Miller and Julie Parrish.
  • Director - Andrew Miller, 520 SW Yamhill, Portland, OR 97204.
  • Treasurer - Carol A. Russell, C&A Consulting, 89286 Cranberry Lane, Bandon, OR 97411.

 

Timber Unity, Inc. 

 

  • Address: 650 NE Holladay St. Ste 1600, Portland, OR 97232.
  • Registered Agent - Andrew Downs.

       

Timber Unity Association, Inc. 

 

  • Address: 19363 Willamette Dr. #288, West Linn, OR 97068.
  • Registered Agent/Founding Board Member: Julie Parrish, West Linn, OR.
  • President - Mike Pihl, owner of Pihl Logging, Inc.
  • Secretary - Scott Hileman.

  

Financial Support

 

  • Andrew Miller, CEO and owner of Stimson Lumber; and Rob Freres, owner of Freres Lumber, other lumber companies, paper mills, and employees.
  • Log trucking companies and independent log truck drivers.
  • Agriculture and mining industries.
  • Right-wing militias and other extremist groups.
  • Membership dues $50 (61,000 members on private Facebook page, no charge to join).

 

Trump  Connection

 

  • Rob Freres, owner of Freres Lumber, connected Timber Unity with Trump, and some leaders went to the White House. 
  • Lara Trump and Brad Parscale, Trump’s former campaign chair, met in Oregon with Timber Unity leaders at Freres Lumber. (Video on Timber Unity FaceBook page: https://www.facebook.com/timberunity/)

 

Who is  Andrew Miller, owner and CEO of Stimson Lumber? 

 

  • Based in Portland, Andrew Miller has long been involved in Oregon GOP politics as a wealthy donor. Miller and Stimson Lumber Co. have donated at least $2 million to politicians;  Miller is also the director of Oregon Transformation Project, a PAC which is described as the “political arm of Stimson”.  He has aggressively opposed environmental laws. 
  • Stimson Lumber owns over 500,000 acres in 3 states and 14 lumber manufacturing operations in 4 states. Stimson Lumber has 400 employees in Oregon. 

 

Who is Rob Freres, President of Freres Lumber?

 

  • Based in Lyons, Oregon, Freres Lumber owns 17,000 acres and has mills in Lyons and Mill City, Oregon with maybe 200-300 employees. 
  • The “..company’s pioneering foray into mass plywood panels, an innovative product designed to replace traditional concrete-and-steel construction in midrise and highrise buildings.”  The company invested $35 million to pivot to mass plywood panels.  
  • “Rob Freres and Freres Lumber have donated close to $1.5 million to Republican candidates and campaigns since 2007…(in 2019). He has personally pledged $1 million to overturn a new business tax in Oregon.”



Who’s Behind Timber Unity?

 

      Timber Unity is organized as a political action committee, Timber Unity PAC (TUPAC), and as two different corporations—Timber Unity, Inc. and Timber Unity Association. 

 

      A group known as Timber Unity was started in 2019 by several log truck drivers who opposed climate change legislation. The group was quickly “hijacked” by Andrew Miller, CEO of Portland-based Stimson Lumber Co., and Julie Parrish, a GOP state representative who lost her seat in 2018.[1] A longtime conservative donor and strong opponent of environmental laws, Miller and Stimson Lumber Co. have donated at least $2 million to politicians. He is also the director of Oregon Transformation Project, a PAC described as the “political arm of Stimson”.[2]  

 

      Miller and Parrish took the name Timber Unity and formed the Timber Unity PAC (TUPAC) and the two corporations. They threatened the log trucker drivers with legal action if they continued to independently use the name “Timber Unity.” Miller seeded the PAC with $5,000 to support the PAC, candidates, and initiatives.[3] Miller remains the Director of TUPAC.

 

      Log truck drivers who stayed with Timber Unity oppose climate change legislation over concern about gas prices.[4]

 

      In their opposition to climate change legislation, Miller and TUPAC’s interests are aligned with Wall Street real estate investors who own at least 40% of private forest lands in western Oregon as well as corporations such as Koch Industries, owner of Georgia-Pacific, which owns Oregon paper mills.[5]

 

      Corporate tactics include threatening employees with job layoffs if climate legislation is enacted. Georgia-Pacific, for example, threatened to close its Wauna Mill. Wauna employees joined Timber Unity believing that if climate legislation passed, they would lose their jobs. In fact, the economic impact from climate legislation in 2019 and 2020  on Georgia-Pacific would have been very small. Stimson Lumber did in fact lay off some employees as a threat to climate legislation.[6] Miller led a boycott to hurt businesses that supported climate legislation.[7]

 

      Timber Unity has been credited with organizing walkouts by GOP legislators. The walkouts have prevented votes by the legislature on climate legislation. The walkouts prevented votes on other essential legislation as well.  After the GOP walkout blocked a vote on climate legislation in 2019, Stimson Lumber cut 40% of jobs at its Forest Grove mill anyway.[8]

 

      Timber Unity presents as a grassroots organization. Senior Timber Unity members have been photographed with neofascist and militia groups; its leaders have never publicly denied, let alone rejected, associations with extremist groups. Timber Unity’s leadership has never denounced the violent threats to political opponents or the racist, anti-Semitic, and homophobic statements made by some of its members.[9]

 

      For more information: Timber Unity Facts

 


[1] Truckers and Loggers Started a Rebellion in Oregon. Political Insiders Took It Over.

 

[2] Oregon Transformation Project's Money MadnessThe King of Clackistan https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/oregon-republican-walkout-climate-change/

 

[3] https://timberunity.com/news

[4] Guest Column: Timber Unity is a misnomer | Opinion

 

[5] The Rise Of Wall Street Forestry Leaves Oregon Timber Communities Paying The TabToledo votes to invest in GP mill;  Seen from Seaside: 'Kochland: The Secret History of Koch Industries'  

[6] Oregon House approves cap-and-trade program to tackle climate change  

 

[7] Stimson Lumber Calls For Boycott of Oregon Businesses That Support Cap and Trade BillStimson Lumber calls for mass boycott of businesses who support Oregon carbon bill

[8] Stimson Lumber | Privacy Data – OPB’s Think Out Loud

 

[9] The Oregon GOP's Favorite Anti-Environment Group Is Awash in Racism and Violent Threats;  “Smokescreen: How Timber Unity has mainstreamed militia groups, Alt Right, and conspiracy theories in Oregon politics” ; https://www.streetroots.org/news/2020/02/21/making-sense-timber-unity-matter-identity-and-white-working-class