Home > Uncategorized > BREAKING: Hurwitz out of Humboldt County

BREAKING: Hurwitz out of Humboldt County

The judge in the Pacific Lumber bankruptcy case has confirmed a reorganization submitted by Mendocino Redwoods Company.

Judge Richard Schmidt called a rival plan submitted by note holders “not confirmable” and said the MRC plan “fair and equitable.”

More details as they come.

EPIC press release:

For Immediate Release:     June 6, 2008

A New Era in Humboldt County:
Mendocino Redwood Company to Assume Control of Pacific Lumber

Humboldt County, CA – Ending a 23-year drama, Texas bankruptcy Judge Richard S. Schmidt will announce that he favors a sustainable and economically viable plan for north coast forests formerly held by now-bankrupt Pacific Lumber Company.

Judge Schmidt’s ruling for bankrupt Pacific Lumber Company and its 220,000 acres of Humboldt County forests, expected to be filed later today, represents real progress for the region, environmental groups say.

After the ruling is filed, within a few weeks the Mendocino Redwood Company will take over Pacific Lumber operations, including logging on lands now held by the Scotia Pacific Company and the Pacific Lumber mill
in Scotia. The Environmental Protection Information Center and the Sierra Club have battled Pacific Lumber’s destructive logging practices since Texas-based Maxxam Corp took over the timber company 23 years ago.

“At long last, Maxxam is gone,” said Sam Johnston, Private Lands Campaigner for EPIC. “This marks a new era for both the people and forests of Humboldt County.”

“This is a positive development for the forested watersheds and people of Humboldt County,” said Paul Mason with the Sierra Club. “We look forward to working with a company that has a much stronger track record of responsible management than its predecessor.”

To protect the ongoing health of the local community, the local economy, and the working forests of this region, Sierra Club and EPIC hope to see: 1) no more cutting of old growth, (2) recovery of species habitat, (3) use of selection harvest methods (4) permanent maintenance of timberland, and (5) permanent protection for key resource areas, such as the Marbled Murrelet Conservation Areas.

Sierra Club and EPIC are optimistic that Mendocino Redwood Company can meet these challenges and recover this important area, according to Johnston.

“MRC inherits a landscape that has suffered grievously from more than two decades of serious abuse,” said EPIC’s Johnston. “We appreciate MRC’s background in restoration-focused forestry, and want to work with MRC to build a truly sustainable timber company for the long term.  MRC needs to make dramatic changes from Pacific Lumber’s practices to fulfill the commitments they have made.”

One of the first tasks MRC will face will be to deal with destructive PL logging plans already in the pipeline, such as the disastrous “Railcar” logging plan to clear-cut redwoods next to Humboldt Redwoods State Park.
MRC also needs to perform extensive restoration work on damaged watersheds such as Elk River, Freshwater and Bear Creek.

The decision, expected to be finalized later today, resolves vast uncertainties that had loomed heavily over the bankruptcy proceedings as creditors staked their positions about who should take over Pacific Lumber
and its subsidiary, Scotia Pacific.  Pacific Lumber’s abandoned plan would have subdivided and sold some 21,000 acres of prime timberlands for development.  The plan by the largest secured creditors of the company, the “Noteholders,” would have entailed a risky auction that could have divided forestland and mill, or forced an inflated price resulting in unsustainable harvest levels.

The MRC Plan comes closest to implementing the standards EPIC advocates for timber management in the Redwood Region. These standards flow from three core principles for timberland management: recovery of high-quality timberland and wildlife habitat for salmon & steelhead and other aquatic, terrestrial, and avian wildlife; recovery of  an economy based on these resources and full integration of the region’s human communities in these efforts.

EPIC & Sierra Club look forward to working with MRC, and are pleased that Judge Schmidt and the bankruptcy court recognized that the MRC plan affords a solid opportunity to realize long-term, sustainable forestry.

  1. gulo gordo
    June 6, 2008 at 11:54 am

    Wow. Another truly hopeful note.

    What a week!

  2. Anonymous
    June 6, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    Word to the wise: Hurwitz was primarily in the subdivision business, in SoCal and Arizona. Now that his long-range northern kingdoms didn’t quite cost out in time, don’t forget that MRC’s long-term plans bruited about Mendocino aren’t different. They’ve already done large subdivisions of timberland in Sonoma, pointing north. We’ve substituted far wealthier SF family ownerhsip for the Texan. It’s better but no new millennium.

  3. Anonymous
    June 6, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    Within 20 years of the SF to LA highspeed rail going in, count on construction commencing to the Oregon border. We’ll be much better acquainted with SFers.

  4. Andrew Bird
    June 6, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    It’s been a pretty good week so far for Humboldt County.

  5. Jane Doe
    June 6, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    Thank you Judge Schmidt. Here’s to a long and happy relationship between MRC and Mother Earth. (passes the bong) :)

  6. Anonymous
    June 6, 2008 at 1:12 pm

    This decision represents a clear loss for the radical proposal put forward by the Watershed Council, Community Forestry Team, etc. This victory means truly working forests and jobs not the farce proposed by Mark Lovelace and the “Un” Great Redwood Forest and their big money land grab. Chalk one up for the people of Humboldt County.

  7. Anonymous
    June 6, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    We use Expo markers now. No one but our decrepit schools use chalk anymore.

  8. Jane Doe
    June 6, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    Do you feel better now 1:12? This was a victory for our forests and that is all that matters.

  9. Anonymous
    June 6, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    Jane, I do feel better; I also feel that this is a true victory for our forests and our community. That doesn’t change the fact that the Lovelace proposal would have been a disaster for the County and represented a scam that even EPIC wouldn’t go along with. We need to be watchfull for more such land grabs in the future.

    1:17, Sorry, EXPO one up for the people of Humboldt. By the way, in the early fifties many of my classrooms didn’t even have a chalkboard on the wall, it was a small one on legs.

  10. June 6, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    Can the judge do something about ridding Humboldt County of Rob Arkley too?

  11. Jane Doe
    June 6, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    It was also a loss for Stephen Lewis and his Heartlands Project. Another thing to smile about :)

  12. June 6, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    Does Heather Mueller work for Palco or Maxxam? Does this mean she gets fired? There’s an editor position open at the Reporter.

  13. Anonymous
  14. Anonymous
    June 6, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    Rose is sure having a hell of a week

  15. June 6, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    for all you know, rose may be lounging on the beach in maui this week.

    i dont agree with rose that often these days, but i would never wish anyone a bad week.

  16. Steve
    June 6, 2008 at 1:58 pm

    Overall I think this is very good news. It provides at least somewhat more environmentally friendly logging. It will hopefully provide more sustainable employment for workers. It will help resurrect and hopefully sustain mill employment in Scotia. MRC’s somewhat better reputation with activists and regulators means hopefully less money and effort spent fighting each other, and lower-cost THP’s. This could be bad news for the hard-cores on both ends of the spectrum who thrive in a contentious environment. Long term, it will be interesting to see which of the big duopolists — MRC or Green Diamond — ends up as the better steward of the land and the timber economy. The pressure to convert TPZ isn’t going away, and in fact is likely to grow over time, carbon offsets notwithstanding.

    But … this is very good news. No Beal, no auction, where the market price will be driven up to the land’s present value under maximum harvest pressure.

    As Bird said … a good week for Humboldt County.

  17. Steve Lewis
    June 6, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    “It was also a loss for Stephen Lewis and his Heartlands Project. Another thing to smile about :)”

    Jane, you are a racist, you know that? You attack the Heartlands Project, you attack the Bear River tribal members who worked on it for years. I worked with Bear River tribal members for 13 years on and off on the Heartlands Project to regain their aboriginal territory that they lost during the California Indian War period. My work is social justice work and I don’t see you doing anything similar to help your fellow Humboldt citizens who have suffered so severely in the past. I suggest you take some courses at HSU on Native American history and also a course in ethics would do you some good.

  18. Anonymous
    June 6, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    Message to Steve : Meds are wearing off

  19. Steve Lewis
    June 6, 2008 at 3:14 pm

    Message to anon. Identity coward’s slander is meaningless drivel.

  20. Anonymous
    June 6, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    Message to Steve: Increase Dosage

  21. Jane Doe
    June 6, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    You should appoint a new spokesman for the Bear River Tribe Steve. Your association is negative to the point of being harmful to their reputation.

  22. Anonymous
    June 6, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    Steve, the root issue isn’t racism. It’s that when people heart the project explained in detail, they think it’s batshit crazy. That’s all.

  23. Anonymous
    June 6, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    er, “people heart” = “people hear”

  24. the last stone
    June 6, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    This decision represents a clear loss for the radical proposal put forward by the Watershed Council, Community Forestry Team, etc. This victory means truly working forests and jobs not the farce proposed by Mark Lovelace and the “Un” Great Redwood Forest and their big money land grab. Chalk one up for the people of Humboldt County.

    The Fisher family is what… little money?

    MRC is a clear step forward for PL forestland, but let’s try to keep the hyperbole down to a dull roar.

  25. Anonymous
    June 6, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    I’m a Palco employee, and we are giddy with joy to be rid of Hurwitz and the possibility of actually being at peace with the environmentalists and the rest of the county. We at Palco hope Mendocino will not lay anymore people off and that they will not cut our pay. They dont pay their workers as much in Ukiah…..

  26. Jane Doe
    June 6, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    What is the difference in pay between them and PALCO currently, 5:08? If you had to choose between a pay cut to what they pay in Ukiah or having more people laid off, which would it be?

  27. Anonymous
    June 6, 2008 at 5:57 pm

    Last Stone, The Fisher family will actually provide jobs and work the forest unlike Lovelace et al who would have created a giant park that no one was allowed to enter.

    Jane, What would you know or care about those who have real non-government funded jobs and have to be concerned about lay offs and pay cuts? Perhaps if you did have a “regular” job and the associated problems the rest of us face on a daily basis then you and your friends would not be as prone to undermine the economic engines that support the half of the county that still does not work for the government.

  28. gulo gordo
    June 6, 2008 at 5:58 pm

    unlike Lovelace et al who would have created a giant park that no one was allowed to enter

    total, utter, steaming horseshit.

  29. Dog running at large
    June 6, 2008 at 6:28 pm


    Just one clarification. Schmidt didn’t confirm the MRC plan today. He said he was going to, based on the resolution of the three ‘adjustments,’ primarily the land value finding of fact. He also said the noteholders fire sale approach was not confirmable.

    It’s a really good sign, but not a done deal.

  30. June 6, 2008 at 6:37 pm

    Bully, gulu!

  31. June 6, 2008 at 7:17 pm

    Awww, geez, 1:45 has missed me, I guess. Naw, Theo, I didn’t make it to Maui but did take a couple of days “off” – I’ve had a great week actually, been helping some friends and getting some gardening done. Figured the only way to get anything done was to shut the computer off, as it has a way of sucking up your entire day.

    As for the Palco worker above – I think your hope for being at peace with the environmentalists is but a pipe dream. It doesn’t take much to read between the lines of the latest EPIC message: This is a better time than ever for people to engage in local issues. Even with Hurwitz and the extreme liquidation logging practices of Maxxam’s PL out of the picture, we face extraordinary challenges to ensure a healthy environment and stable economy for future generations.

    EPIC would like to invite you to get involved!

    The opportunity is ripe this summer to rekindle a movement in Humboldt to protect our natural legacy.

    Anyone want to guess how?

    (Sent out by Salzman’s listserve, by the way, asking you to donate by credit card for the privilege of receiving his viral spam.)

  32. June 6, 2008 at 7:24 pm

    Shorter rose: Don’t get involved. Don’t pay attention. Everything will be fine so long as you’re ignorant.

  33. June 6, 2008 at 7:31 pm

    Og, I shortened it, heraldo, would you like the full version? Nah. you’ve already got it.

  34. June 6, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    Yes, you’ve repeated your delusions sufficiently, thanks.

  35. June 6, 2008 at 7:35 pm

    ahh, yes, it’s good to be back. Nothin’s changed at all.

  36. June 6, 2008 at 7:38 pm

    Oh, but they have. Hurwitz is out of Humboldt. Lovelace is Supervisor. Take heart. It’s a new day.

  37. Jane Doe
    June 6, 2008 at 7:42 pm

    That’s a lot of assumptions about people you know nothing about, 5:57. Are you the person I asked the question of or are you being an ass about that too?

  38. Steve
    June 6, 2008 at 8:02 pm

    I have been participating in Heraldo’s and Eric’s blogs for a while now using my first name, Steve, but another regular commenter with the same first name has consistently been attracting flame and drama on these pages. All the remarks like “Message to Steve: increase the dosage” are somewhat less than enjoyable for me to read, though I know they aren’t aimed in this direction. I’m wondering … should I shift to some fictitious name?

  39. June 6, 2008 at 8:11 pm

    I’ve seen commenters confuse you with the other Steve. I appreciate your participation here and hope you keep contributing your thoughts.

    If you don’t want to use your last name (or last initial) to distinguish yourself from the other Steve, I suggest a blogonym for use on these forums.

  40. the last stone
    June 6, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    Last Stone, The Fisher family will actually provide jobs and work the forest unlike Lovelace et al who would have created a giant park that no one was allowed to enter.

    That’s just not accurate.

    It may be difficult to keep mills open in current markets, but cutting timber for the mill was both the intention and a commitment of the community forestry team. Not to mention a necessity: either to pay down debt and/or provide returns for private equity partners.

    MRC will bring many resources to Humboldt. That’s a good thing. A major relief. No need to trash local efforts attempting to accomplish many of the same goals as MRC since before MRC/Marathon introduced it’s reorganization plan into court.

  41. Anonymous
    June 7, 2008 at 9:12 am

    The Community Forestry Team’s goal is to provide permanent protection for the remaining Old Growth (which is off-limits to logging for another 42 years) and to obtain permanent working forest conservation easements on the other 200,000 acres to keep them as working timberlands. That plan would actually have done more to ensure timber jobs into the future than the MRC plan.

    The CFT was able to line up private capital investors behind their plan, as well as an investor to operate the mill. They were prepared to bid in case it went to an auction, but they didn’t advocate for an auction because of the uncertainty and risk.

  42. Steve Lewis
    June 7, 2008 at 10:40 am

    What was the expected employment of the CFT’s plan? How many jobs would there be for Palco workers and their role in the community’s economy?

  43. Steve Lewis
    June 7, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    Deafening silence..

  44. F.H.B.
    June 7, 2008 at 9:27 pm

    This thread’s already moved down the front page a bit, Stephen – it may be that the folks you were addressing haven’t looked back at it. Or maybe, as you are implying, they don’t want to or can’t answer – but it would be a bit hasty to conclude that at this point would it not?

    If you want the answer to that question, if indeed they have an answer (and if they don’t that pretty much makes your point I suppose) you could e-mail or phone the CFT folks and see what they say.

    This would be the equivalent of what you did in the case of that nasty rumor about Clif Clendenen supposedly hiring undocumented workers at subminimum wages. At first you kept asking fellow bloggers whether it was true, and when you didn’t get an answer you kind of seemed to assume the worst, at least for a while there.

    But then, to your credit, when someone suggested you just call Clif and ask him, you did so, and cleared up the question quite easily. This might be another such case, where a phone call or e-mail could quickly get you to the facts, or at least to a claim by the CFT as to what their plan is supposed to do for Palco workers. Of course it may be somewhat of a moot point, at least at the moment, if the MRC plan is ultimately confirmed, and survives any legal challenge.

    Still – you asked the question, and I don’t know the answer or I would give it to you. It may be that no one else posting here has that answer either, or it could just be that they haven’t been back online since you asked or just haven’t thought to check back on this thread.

    So if the question is worth asking, and I think it is, then maybe it’s worth you finding out the answer firsthand, or at least finding out what the CFT tells folks who ask that question. The answer (or non-answer) could be enlightening either way.

    Best of luck.


  45. the last stone
    June 7, 2008 at 11:23 pm

    FHB –

    The auction plan included a period for potential bidders to do their due diligence in preparing a bid. The due diligence and ground truthing phase of developing a bid is expensive. Without an approved auction plan and a completed due diligence phase all you can get from any of the potential bidders is guess work with very round numbers and many caveats that they are reluctant to state for obvious reasons…

    I suspect that none of the potential participants in the noteholder’s auction plan would be able to answer questions about employment at the mill with any accuracy. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to the point where would be bidders can actually give reasonably accurate answers.

    Even after due diligence it’s informed guess work. But, good enough for bankers and investors with some tolerance for risk.

    A crystal ball to determine future economic conditions, lumber markets, mill efficiencies, interest rates, fire risk, the value of the dollar and regulatory requirements would also be helpful to give truly definitive answers.

    Just sayin’

  46. Steve Lewis
    June 8, 2008 at 6:08 am

    last stone, you should be writing PR releases for corporate execs or politicians. Lot’s of verbiage saying essentially nothing.

  47. Steve Lewis
    June 8, 2008 at 6:14 am

    The CFT group should have a good idea of how many jobs their Plan would actually produce because it is a very important consideration in the Palco bankruptcy outcome. To not have any clear idea of how many Palco workers would end up being employed after their Plan is implemented smacks to me of either ill-preparation or cover-up of the CFT Plan’s very likely big reduction in the current Palco workforce.

  48. Steve Lewis
    June 8, 2008 at 6:17 am

    And FHB, why should I have to keep going to these people who do not make their positions clear themselves but have their blog minions speaking for them who certainly have their political opinions about everything else under sun but the relevant question.

  49. F.H.B.
    June 8, 2008 at 11:55 am

    So that you can get the answer you are looking for, Steve, rather than having meaningless exchanges with the “minions.” Of course if you’d rather raise the question without getting an answer and continue jousting with shadows rather than just getting the answer directly, that’s your prerogative. But don’t complain that you’re not getting an answer from people who don’t have the answer, if you won’t bother to just contact someone who ought to have the answer. It all depends what your goal is: getting an answer, or on the other hand, playing “gotcha” with the minions. Your choice.

  50. June 8, 2008 at 11:55 am

    “Lot’s of verbiage saying essentially nothing.”

    Thus Steve Lewis begins his three posts in a row.

  51. Steve Lewis
    June 8, 2008 at 1:32 pm

    Carson Park Ranger. What is it with you and Mresquan, both of you following my posts with your little stupid snippets of slander. Why don’t you both grow up and stop playing at being amateur ADL character assassins? If you don’t have anything to offer the community but slander of people actually doing something for other in the community, you really should take your garbage views to some place where they appreciate such junk–maybe AIPAC headquarters?

  52. June 8, 2008 at 10:26 pm

    Quoting Steve qualifies as “slander” against Steve. Perfect.

  53. Steve Lewis
    June 9, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    You should now, Mr. King of the Anonymous a-holes around here.

    “Heraldo”…only fellow Progs would pay any attention the opinions of a person too chickenshit to expose his identity.

  54. Steve Lewis
    June 9, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    Can you imagine what laughter there would be if Rob Arkley had a blog where he continually cited one anonymous poster year after year without ever questioning who or what was giving him advice?

    Like I said, only Progs with a political agenda that doesn’t give a rat’s ass about truth or transparency would tolerate “Heraldo”s identify fraud.

  55. Ribeye
    June 9, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    What’s a Prog?

  56. Anonymous
    June 9, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    Steve’s mortal enemy.

  57. Steve Lewis
    June 10, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    A Prog is a political frog. They come in plague size only, like locusts, and invade the happy lands of locals and there, like pampas grass, steal the land away from the indigenous population.

  58. Anonymous
    June 10, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    A prog is Steve’s made-up label to demonize people. It’s what demons do.

  59. Anonymous
    June 10, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    As closely as Steve Lewis follows this blog, I think he’s a BIG Heraldo fan.

  60. Steve Lewis
    June 11, 2008 at 12:20 am

    I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. This is where they congregate, here and on Eric’s blog. I go where the work needs to be done.

  61. June 11, 2008 at 7:21 am

    Steve goes where comment traffic can be detoured down Lewis Lane.
    Just look what happened to this one.,

  62. Steve Lewis
    June 11, 2008 at 11:36 am

    Oh poor poor CPR! I’ve gone and crashed the Prog party without being invited! How crass and terrible of me. I so so sorry, CPR. I don’t know what came over me to do this horrible thing of actually posting comments on Heraldo’s Hideaway blog. I should flog myself but it’s too much fun to flog Progs and watch their bloated bodies explode at the touch of the old rapier wit.

  63. Steve Lewis
    June 11, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    Note to self. Don’t be so mean. CPR and fellow Progs can’t help themselves. Territorial defense against the interloper–instinctual reaction. I should post anonymously here and join everyone else in the two-face tango theme song of Heraldo’s Hideaway.

  64. Ribeye
    June 11, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    Again. What is a Prog?

  65. Anonymous
    June 11, 2008 at 12:37 pm


  66. Anonymous
    June 11, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    Don’t be so mean.

    It’s not that you’re mean. It’s that you’re a complete dick.

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