Department of Forestry Records Guide
Record Series Descriptions
Oxbow Fire Case Records
8.5 cubic feet
Arrangement: by case name, thereunder by type of record
Depositions, exhibits, and transcript volumes are numerical by case number Correspondence and research notes are chronological by date of activity
Series documents the Department of Forestry's involvement with two intertwined court cases resulting from its attempts to collect $1 million in costs from Umpqua River Navigation Co. for causing the Oxbow Fire. The State case,Department of Forestry, et al v. Umpqua River Navigation Co., was dismissed in Douglas County Circuit Court because the court felt that the defendant's rights under the Fourth Amendment (unreasonable search) to the United States Constitution had been violated. The State Supreme Court reversed the lower court [258 Or. 10, 478 p.2d 631].
The case was appealed to the United States Supreme Court on a petition for a writ of certiorari and was denied [92 S.Ct. (1971)]. The federal case, International Paper Co. v. United States and Umpqua River Navigation Co., was heard in United States District Court and was decided in favor of the plaintiff. This case was extremely important to the Forestry Department because it allowed them to use techniques in fire case investigations, which are prohibited to law enforcement agencies.
Records include depositions, transcripts, pleadings, motions, briefs, exhibits (including photos, slides, and maps), legal research notes, testimony transcripts, proceedings transcripts, and correspondence. Subjects include the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution (unreasonable search); constitutional law, Oxbow fire, extra fire cost collection, fire investigations, forest law, and fire-fighting methods.