Where Are They Now?


Idly reading the local news (sic) weekly and came across a letter-to-the-editor signed by a familiar name . . . Jeffrey Luers. I don’t know Jeff, but most anyone who was in Eugene during its radical anarchist days knows of Jeff. He and a friend torched some SUVs at a local car dealership as a political statement against everything that SUVs stand for. He became a cause celebre not for the arson itself, but the excessively long 22+ year sentence he received, later reduced to 10 of which he served 9 1/2 years.

Jeff is now a landscape architecture student at Nike U. (aka the University of Oregon). He’s transitioned from tree sitting and arson to the greening of Eugene’s gravel alleys. Warning to Eugene’s SUV drivers — you might think twice about parking in the alley.

20 thoughts on “Where Are They Now?”

  1. Seems to me that Mr. Luers served his (over excessive) time and is now working hard to be a productive member of society. Also, what’s up with that picture accompanying this post? Looks like someone driving an SUV in front of crowd that had some mechanical problems. It gives the impression that Mr. Luers set that type of fire in front of hundreds of people. Wasn’t it actually set late at night in a auto dealership parking lot that was vacant of any people?

    • Matt, I’m not sure I understand your point. Just in case you are arguing that Luers’ actions did not pose any physical threats to anyone, I suggest you read the court of appeals opinion in his case.

      Among other things, it points out that Luers was convicted on felony counts related to two arson incidents. In the less well-known, but more threatening, he attempted to blow up a gasoline fuel truck at Tyree Oil, a petroleum products distributor located near (low-income) residential neighborhoods. But for his incompetence as an arsonist, the resulting inferno could have killed many people.

      • Andy, I’m not sure I understand your point. Especially on a blog related to Forest Service policy. However, I’ll point out that your original post only mentioned the SUV torching and contains a picture of an SUV which appears to have mechanical problems in front of a large group of people. So I guess we’ll leave it at that. Or maybe “Where are they now” will be a new feature at the blog.

        • Sorry, I forgot to mention that Luers was founder of “a group of activists who organized a tree sitting campaign to stop the clear-cutting of old growth forests outside of Fall Creek, Oregon.” But of what possible relevance could that be to this blog?

          What I found must bemusing about this era of violent anti-logging protests was that they happened after the old-growth Douglas-fir war had already been won. Strange. Maybe these kids just didn’t read newspapers.

          • But as you mentioned above Andy, despite most old growth logging over, there were still a few sales such as the one on Fall Creek, the details of which I have long forgotten.

            But despite a few old growth sales like that one, the war really was over except for continued large post fire salvage proposals such as Warner Creek.

            But back in the late 90s, I also heard strident opposition to innocuous thinning projects by main stream groups such as Oregon Trout. It has taken a long time for many to recognize any beneficial logging. It is still impossible to talk about it with some but they are few.

            (You know the salvage at Shady Beach which really scalped much of the fire area, after seeing that I understood why people dug in at Warner Creek to stop the same. This was not any eco salvage like I saw on later projects after the NWFP regs halted the worst,)

      • yes, off topic for this blog, but much of what we post is off topic, with the exception of things you post Matthew which are always on target for federal issues.

        But since we are onto incendiary issues, perhaps andy can stir up more fire by posting something on the defazio/wyden BLM proposals for western Oregon.

        I have been interested in hearing his thoughts on this. And while we are at it, maybe we can talk about the Franklin/johnson eco logging projects in mixed age class stands in SW Oregon which are now occupied by the tree sitting faction, lousy weather for that but, a timely topic.

        I promise to desist from anything more on GMOs.

  2. I forgot the details, but were the crude incendiary devices at Tyee oil actually lit or were they just left there as a gesture?

    As I recall, the cops tailing him lost him and he and his companion could have made it to tyee oil to leave the devices, Whether he left them or not, the evidence ( package of 6 colored sponges etc too much to get into here.) is strong that somebody associated with him left the devices on the tankers.

    Any focus on Jeff luers detracts from the many thoughtful enviros in Eugene who were outraged at these idiot actions, in a word, Luers was a punk with a huge mouth who put himself right in the eyes of the police. Nothing new there, idiot young males……..It was a sorry history, his actions were the culmination of months of turmoil that tore up the Eugene community. I don;t like the vibes now in that neighborhood where I lived for years. I am glad I was 20 in the mid 70s and not in the early 2000s in Eugene.

    As much as I do reach out, i can;t communicate with many of those “kids” now. And precious few know anything about forest ecology, it is too often just angry rhetoric from too many on enviro issues.

    BTW, I spent time with the young guy “critter” who was with Luers that night, after he got out of jail. He really knew how dumb the whole thing was, live and learn.

    • Greg asks: “but were the crude incendiary devices at Tyee oil actually lit or were they just left there as a gesture?”

      Quoting from the appeals court decision: “protruding from the sponge was an incense stick with wooden matches (which had been burned) attached to it with thread.”

    • Greg says: “Any focus on Jeff Luers detracts from the many thoughtful enviros in Eugene who were outraged at these idiot actions . . .”

      I could give weight to this view if Jeff was an outlier in the Eugene enviro community. But, not so. Here’s how the Washington Post summarized the indictments in the five-year wave of eco-terrorism that swept over five western states:

      Investigators said that most of the 11 people indicted have lived in and around the university town of Eugene, Ore. Eight of them have been arrested — six in December in locations across the nation and two this week in Eugene. Three are at-large and believed to be outside the country.

      Is it something in the water?

  3. Well Andy, you have taken fire from them during all the years I was gone, so you are perhaps a better judge than me. But that anarchist crowd really were outliers, often woefully ill read, But few were inclined to acts of destruction.

    I just gave up talking to many, which is the source of my sometimes acerbic barbs at “enviros” but there are far more who are reasonable if ill informed on many things. Yes? I do think our differences with them are due to our coming from very educated families.

    I just gave it up, it was like arguing religion. You might have followed similar passions in the anti GMO crowd.

  4. what I meant above is that andy might have “seen” similar passions with some anti gmo people, a lot of psuedo science and half truths, continually recycled by people who can;t seem to read more than a paragraph or two.

    Time to get off my pedestal, not as if I know much about GMOs myself.

  5. And to continue this side trip into a completely unrelated topic to the issue of jeff luers and company in Eugene.

    I often do not know what to think, meaning I am a good scientist and I sure as hell do my reading. I have zero interest in engaging with partisans who have not taken the same effort to inform themselves.

    Weed resistance to massive overuse of roundup is turning out to be a sorry outcome, it did not have to be like this. Experiences with BT GMO crops has been much better, especially with cotton thus far.

    And for a balanced view, here is one the skewers much of the yap yap on miracle GMOs, I had not realized how marginal some of these wonders were, although in the future, I hope to see better applications.


    • Greg, my impression is that when the heat is up so high on a topic, you can’t really believe anything you read. Because the point is to get you wound up about it.. or to tell you to stop complaining, not really to inform from the standpoint that we attempt to on this blog as in “gee… Joe and Sally disagree about this project, I wonder why that is?”

      I did have a good experience with Pew Agbiotech..though, in terms of trying to see both sides. But it did make me wonder why Pew funds folks who don’t try to see both sides in the forest biz. My hypothesis is that there is some kind of buddy system in which biotech usage is important to have balanced, but wood product usage not so much.

      At the White House, at the time (Clinton administration) , I had to wonder why the the scientist/biotech industrial complex had so much more power than timber folks in rural America. I tried asking the environmental NGO’s why they weren’t more interested in biotech and didn’t get much of an answer. Certainly soybean fields aren’t as photogenic as old-growth forests, but…

    • Dave, is Gloria Flora a felon? Or do you think that Landscape Architecture is felonious? Are you doing a comedy routine? Would it be out of line to ask if you know what you’re talking about? (just because it’s hard to tell otherwise)

  6. Gloria flora is one of my great heroes, and if Jeff Luers shows a deep change of heart, no reason why he can;t get a job even with a felony conviction.

    It needs to be recognized that many of that sabotage crowd had a deep change of heart, especially after they torched a tree research site thinking it was GMO research, which it surely was not. Not too bright………..

    There was a well done movie about them.

    I had my own bitter experiences with some of that crowd but there were always those who also listened. I could write a novel about that, academia sure seemed boring after that.

    One has to act kindly toward the young, but easier here in Vietnam where elders are treated with such deference. My grey beard will get me a seat on a packed bus every time.


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