Thank you for allowing me an opportunity to answer your interesting
question. Having been in law enforcement for well over 20 years I am
quite familiar with statutory legalese. I will try to help you
understand this law as it is written and offer my interpretation as to
the meaning of it, as well as help you to identify any exemptions to
the law that might exist. I must offer this disclaimer however that my
research should not replace licensed legal advice as we cannot and do
not provide that kind of advice here as a matter of policy. Now, on
with the explanation:
Many times, in order to fully understand a statute, one must begin at
the end and work backward, but in every case the statute in its
ENTIRETY must be taken into account. First let?s clear up some factual
Let?s examine how the statute defines the terms: HARVEST, SPECIAL
FOREST PRODUCTS and TRANSPORTATION in ORS 164.813 (6):
?(6) As used in this section:
(a) 'Harvest' means to separate by cutting, prying, picking, peeling,
breaking, pulling, splitting or otherwise removing a special forest
(B) The place or position where it lay.
(b) 'Special forest products' means:
(A) Bear grass (Xerophyllum tenas), boughs, branches, ferns and other
forest plant parts used in floral arrangements and decorations;
(B) The bark and needles of the Pacific yew (Taxus brevifolia);
(C) Cascara bark from the cascara tree (Rhamnus purshiana);
(D) Cedar salvage including cedar chunks, slabs, stumps and logs that
are more than one cubic foot in volume;
(E) Cut or picked evergreen foliage and shrubs including, but not
limited to, ferns, huckleberry, Oregon grape, rhododendron and salal;
(G) Native ornamental trees and shrubs, including trees and shrubs
that are not nursery grown and that have been removed from the ground
with the roots intact;?
(H) Round or split posts, poles, pickets, stakes or rails,
shakeboards, shake-bolts, shingle bolts or other round or split
products of any forest tree species; and
(I) Wild edible mushrooms that have not been cultivated or propagated
by artificial means.
(c) 'Special forest products' does not mean mill ends, driftwood and
artificially fabricated fireplace logs.
(d) 'Transportation' means the physical conveyance of special forest
products away from a harvest site and includes, but is not limited to,
transportation in or on:
(A) A motor vehicle designed for use on improved roadways;
(B) A boat, barge, raft or other water vessel; or
(C) An airplane, helicopter, balloon or other aircraft.
(7) Subsection (3) of this section does not apply to a person who
purchases cedar products that are ?special forest products? and who
complies with the record keeping requirements of ORS 165.109.
(8) Violation of any provision of subsections (1) to (3) of this
section is a Class B misdemeanor.?
Now what we effectively learn by the legal definitions alone is that
you, by your own admission (here at least), HARVESTED the wood, which
by law fits the statutory criteria for SPECIAL FOREST PRODUCT, with
the intent of TRANSPORTING it, as defined by the statute. This gives
the initial appearance that indeed you are theoretically guilty of a
Class B misdemeanor. Fortunately for you we don?t have to rely on this
alone, rather the statute as a whole.
Moving back to the beginning then, we must examine how the statute
defines the ?illegal act? and what the exemptions are, if any:
?(1) It is unlawful for any person to cut or split wood into special
forest products or to harvest or remove special forest products from a
place unless the person has in possession
a written permit to do so from the owner of the land from which the
wood is cut or the products taken.?
Apparently you had no permit as required by law, so this suggests that
you may theoretically be guilty of this offense. The remaining part of
subsection (1) then is not applicable and a moot point. So let?s move
to section (2):
?(2) It is unlawful for a person to transport special forest products
without possessing a permit as described in subsection (1) of this
section or a document of sale showing title thereto.?
Your guilt regarding this portion in questionable. In a court of law a
person could argue perhaps that by having the wood in a stationary
vehicle he did not actually ?succeed? in transporting it, and is
therefore not guilty of violating this portion of the statute. If the
court however sees ?intent? as the same as the actual commission of
the offense, he could be found guilty of this or perhaps of a lesser
offence such as conspiracy to commit the act.
Now for subsection 3:
?(3) Any person who engages in the purchase or other acquisition of
special forest products for resale, other than special forest products
acquired from property owned by that person, shall keep records of
such purchases or acquisitions for a period of one year from the date
of purchase or acquisition.?
This is not applicable to your situation so we shall move on to subsection 4:
?(4) Any permit for the removal of special forest products from public
lands issued by the United States Forest Service or the Bureau of Land
Management is sufficient for the purposes of subsections (1) and (2)
of this section, regardless of whether the permit conforms to the
specific requirements as to content set forth in subsections (1) and
(2) of this section.?
Again, this is not applicable to your situation so we shall move on to
subsection 5, where your original question lies:
?(5) Subsections (1) and (2) of this section do not apply to:
(a) The cutting or transportation of wild edible mushrooms occupying a
volume at harvest of one gallon or less;
(b) The cutting or transportation of special forest products, as
defined in subsection (6)(b)(D), (F) and (H) of this section, having a
total volume of less than 27 cubic feet;
(c) The cutting or transportation of special forest products, other
than those specified in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this subsection,
having a total volume of less than 12 cubic feet;
(d) The cutting or transportation of coniferous trees that are subject
to the provisions of ORS 164.825;
(e) The cutting or transportation of special forest products by the
owner of the land from which they were taken or by the owner?s agent;
(f) The transportation of special forest products by a common carrier
or contract carrier.?
To focus more closely, let?s take another look at (5)(b) and see what,
precisely, these exemptions mean. My interpretation of (5)(b) is:
?(b) The cutting or transportation [movement by means of a vehicle] of
special forest products, as defined in subsection (6)(b) [The place or
position where it lay] (D) [which does not apply to your situation],
(F) [firewood] and (H) [which does not apply to your situation] of
this section, having a total volume of less than 27 cubic feet;?
To summarize, my interpretation of this statute is that a person may
cut and transport naturally downed firewood from the position where it
naturally lies without a permit for his own private use and
consumption as long as the total volume does not exceed 27 cubic feet.
If this sounds like what you were doing at the time and no permit was
required of you to do this, in my non-legal opinion (as I said, by
policy we cannot and do not practice law or offer legal advice in this
forum), based solely on your account of what happened and my
understanding of the wording of the statue, you are NOT GUILTY of this
violating ORS 164.813, 1 (5) (b) because of the exemptions clearly set
forth in the statute.
Now, having said that - THIS IS IMPORTANT - if your situation involved
the cutting of materials other than naturally downed trees, certain
species of trees forbidden in this or other statutes, or trees for
purposes other than what you specified, my interpretation would
probably change as it applies to you and your theoretical guilt or
innocence. I highly recommend you seek local legal counsel for a
definitive interpretation of this law and do not rely solely on an
internet forum for such an opinionated interpretation, especially if
that interpretation originates from someone who is not licensed to
practice law in the state of Oregon.
Below you will find that I have carefully defined my search strategy
for you in the event that you need to search for more information. By
following the same type of searches that I did you may be able to
enhance the research I have provided even further. I hope you find
that that my research exceeds your expectations. If you have any
questions about my research please post a clarification request prior
to rating the answer. Otherwise, I welcome your rating and your final
comments and I look forward to working with you again in the near
future. Thank you for bringing your question to us.
Tutuzdad ? Google Answers Researcher
CRIMES AGAINST PROPERTY
SECTION 1. ORS 164.813
ORS 164.813 ? RELATED TO SPECIAL FOREST PRODUCTS
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PREFACE TO OREGON REVISED STATUTES