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Environment Group Stages Protest at Lumber Store

A dozen environmentalists demonstrated in front of a Santa Monica lumber store Thursday, waving signs and passing out fliers to protest the sale of old-growth redwood products.

Members of Rainforest Action Network, an international environmental group, said Fisher Lumber sells wood from old-growth redwoods being harvested from Northern California’s ancient redwood forests, including Headwaters Forest near Eureka.

Erik Jorgensborg, president of Fisher Lumber Co., said less than 5% of his business comes from the sale of old-growth redwood, most of which is bought by people matching siding on older homes.

Jorgensborg said he has not decided whether to discontinue supplying the wood.

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“I’m buying redwood products from forests that are sustainable, that are being replanted,” he said. “It’s a renewable resource. It grows again.”

Merc Pittinos, a member of the environmental group, said: “Southern California is actually one of the biggest markets for this wood, which is principally used for luxury products like hot tubs and decks. If people knew it was 2,000-year-old trees being used for their decks, they wouldn’t want anything to do with it.”

The protesters stopped customers and asked them not to patronize the store until the owners pledged to stop selling the wood. Some patrons expressed support for the demonstrators, who waved signs at the lunchtime traffic on Colorado Boulevard.

“I didn’t know they were selling old-growth redwoods,” said Lavonne Regehr , a Santa Monica resident who came to buy a trellis at the store. “I’m concerned about this and I’m going to tell [the owners] that.”

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