The Two-Way Mirror of Political Ads

By Liv Phillips

Catlin Gabel School, Catlin Speak

As the political season shifts into full gear, it seems hard to escape political ads. One particular ad has baffled many Oregonians as of late.

The ad states “The Bridge? The Website? Rudy Crew? The Elliott? Bhutan? 4 More years???” It is ominously vague, but it does stick in the back of your mind.

This political ad is against current governor Kitzhaber. The ad references some of the mishaps of Kitzhaber’s reign as governor.  The bridge alludes the failure to develop a new Columbia River crossing.  The website references the failure of Cover Oregon. Bhutan refers to Kitzhaber’s visit to Bhutan to learn about happiness, while the other phrases refer to the debacle in hiring Rudy Crew and finally Kitzhaber’s sale of the Elliott State Forest to generate money for the education fund.

The ad is paid for by Seneca Sustainable Energy, which again makes it more ominous.

The Seneca Sustainable Energy group is a part of the Seneca Sawmills. Seneca Sawmills specialize in logging and timber production.

In 2009 Seneca set up Seneca Sustainable Energy and opened a cogeneration factory to create electricity through the burning of woody biomass, wood chips, and other byproducts from the timber mill.

Due to the opening of this clean energy plant, Seneca received millions of dollars in tax breaks, according to Eugene Weekly.

The ad gets even more interesting when one discovers that the patch of forest Seneca criticized Kitzhaber for selling was actually co-purchased by Seneca.

The Elliott Forest is a swath of state-owned forest between Coos Bay and Reedsport.

According to the Oregon Department of State Lands, a portion of the Elliott state forest was sold to the Seneca and Scott Timber Companies for $4.2 million.

Seneca Sustainable Energy paid for these political ads, and according to Willamette Week donated 200,000 dollars to Republican challenger Dennis Richardson’s gubernatorial campaign.

Not only did Seneca pay for ominous political ads but they also targeted Kitzhaber for policy in the ad that directly benefitted them. Seneca will be clear-cutting the land.

About Grace Masback

Grace Masback, 17, aspires to give voice to the voiceless and holds the modest ambition of becoming the voice of Gen Z. Frustrated by the dearth of impactful platforms for teen journalists, she founded WANT, a news, sports, and entertainment website that aggregates the best in high school journalism from school newspapers and teen bloggers around the world (www.wantnewsforteens.com).

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