Oregon Court of Appeals ruled that Oregon should not have sold off a chunk of land four years ago.

COURTESY OF OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY, COURTSY OF EARTHFIX  - Elliot State Forest land in Oregon. The Oregon Court of Appeals has ruled that the state should not have sold off a piece of the Elliott State Forest to a Eugene-based timber company four years ago. The state sold the land in 2014 after environmental groups successfully sued to halt several timber sales on the forest.

"It's our understanding that this will revert back into public ownership like it should be," said Josh Laughlin of Cascadia Wildlands, one of several groups challenging the sale.

The Elliott State Forest in southwestern Oregon was initially set aside to generate money for schools as part of the Common Schools Fund, but federal endangered species protections also apply. After timber sales were halted, the Oregon State Land Board decided to generate that money instead by selling an 800-acre parcel to Seneca Jones Timber Company.

Seneca did not immediately return a request for comment.

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