Stories of chemical trespass, economic loss, and communities at risk…


Read the latest stories from Oregon rural residents (VIDEO):
Rogue River Community Stands Together to Protect Drinking Water from Aerial Spray

On the morning of October 16th, 2013, something went very wrong in a quiet rural part of southwestern Oregon. A helicopter pilot loaded his tanks with a chemical concoction of five different herbicides mixed into petroleum oil and flew seven times over dozens of homes in Cedar Valley, a residential area near Gold Beach. People working on their property and in town immediately started falling ill. Soon, dozens of complaints poured in to state agencies about a possible connection between the mysterious helicopter, a strong chemical smell and severe health problems. The people who reported symptoms had several complaints in common including coughing up blood, blurred vision, falling caused by vertigo, excruciating headaches and vomiting.

The story is sad and familiar. Aerial pesticide spray sickens rural Oregonians, their farm animals and pets. Why do timber companies spray herbicides? It’s a common forestry practice used to kill weeds and native plants that might compete with new conifer trees. The pattern of clear-cutting forests, replanting a tree farm, followed by multiple aerial herbicide sprays is damaging to people’s health and well-being, water, wildlife, and Oregon’s renowned natural beauty.

Explore some of the stories of people impacted by these practices:

North Coast area 

Central Coast Range area

Cedar Valley/Gold Beach area

The stories listed above (Cedar Valley) were gathered into Poisoned Paradise: Stories from Cedar Valley (written by Lisa Arkin; PDF), which first appeared as an insert in the May 22, 2014 edition of the Eugene Weekly in large format

Willamette Valley & beyond

Other Chemical Trespass Stories (written and audio clips)