Not in Our Town: Violent threats are unacceptable

A petition to Southern Oregon mining districts, newspapers and elected officials

Southern Oregon gold miners with an alarming history of advocating for violence are distributing a “wanted” poster with a photo of local resident George Sexton that includes his home address and also targets his wife, Lesley Adams. The flyer was also posted on the Facebook page of an officer of the Galice Mining District. The post included comments indicating that at least one of the miners has visited the couples’ home while several other comments call for an “open season” on the family and threaten violent physical harm.

You can help stand up to these bullies. Take the pledge to stand with George and Lesley against threats of violence. This petition will be sent to elected officials, mining associations and the media to show our solidarity with and support of those who are at risk because of their work protecting our public forests and clean water.

Both George and Lesley have worked for years to protect old-growth forests and clean water in the streams and rivers of our public lands by implementing decades-old federal environmental laws. George serves as the Conservation Director for a small non-profit organization called the Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center (KS Wild) while Lesley works for the Waterkeeper Alliance. They live in southern Oregon with their newborn son and two dogs.

Free speech is a fundamental right of all Americans. Any individual is free to disagree with George and Lesley’s professional work advocating for clean water and forest protection. But the use of threats of violence to attempt to intimidate this family crosses the line of what is acceptable in civil society.

Unfortunately, this is not just a case of empty rhetoric, nor is it an isolated incident. Southern Oregon miners and mining organizations have a history of violence and political intimidation on our public lands. In 2009, miner Eugene Spears shot forest visitor Gregory Graybill for driving on a Forest Service road near Mr. Spears’ mining claim. The Southwest Oregon Mining Association responded by organizing miners to attend Mr. Spears’ trial in support of the shooting for which he was ultimately convicted.

Petition by

To: A petition to Southern Oregon mining districts, newspapers and elected officials
From: [Your Name]

I stand in solidarity with Rogue Valley residents George Sexton and Lesley Adams. I stand against the intimidation and threats of violence being spread by members of the southern Oregon public lands mining community.

The miners’ threats to harm conservation advocates and their families are unacceptable and reflect poorly on those who are encouraging and promoting violence.

I pledge not to let intimidation and threats determine what happens on public lands that belong to all Americans. The targeting of advocates who speak for our public lands will have the opposite of its intended effect. I am now more engaged in and committed to the protection of forests and waters from illegal mining than I was before learning of the threats of violence.

Unacceptable political threats of violence and continued threats to the safety of families that speak up for environmental protection have caused me to redouble my support for environmental protections and those who advocate for our forests and rivers.