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Tree-sitter's contact jailed, goes on hunger strike

PROSPECT ' A man arrested Saturday for allegedly trying to contact a tree-sitter at the Peak timber sale has refused to identify himself and is reportedly on a hunger strike at the Jackson County Jail.

According to police reports, the unidentified man attempted to enter the restricted site ' a 600-acre tract in the Rogue River National Forest ' at 4 p.m. to contact one of at least two tree-sitters protesting the timber sale.

Scott Timber Co. purchased nearly 4 million board foot sale, and is harvesting the logs as part of the Forest Service's replacement volume program.

The unidentified man was arrested by Forest Service officials. He was lodged in the county jail on an unspecified federal charge without bail. Police are calling the man John Doe.

Jail officials have released little information about John Doe. No mug shot was taken because the man reportedly refused to provide any details about himself. Southern Oregon resident Ardent ' who said he declined to use his legal name because of potential police harassment ' said he's acquainted with the John Doe.

Ardent said John Doe contacted from him the county jail on Sunday to confirm he was on a hunger strike.

He hasn't eaten anything today, he added on Sunday.Ardent said the unidentified man has been protesting the timber sale in Prospect. Ardent declined to provide any additional details about John Doe.

Sunday night, a jail sergeant said John Doe is being monitored but would not elaborate.

When an inmate is on a hunger strike, jail staff continue to offer the person food and monitor the inmate.

The inmates are routinely evaluated by medical staff and often by mental health experts as well.

The unidentified man may be affiliated with Mazama Forest Defense. The organization unsuccessfully sued to halt the sale, and has continued to protest the harvesting.

The Southern Oregon University Media Collective issued a media statement on Sunday in defense of the unidentified man. That release included information about Mazama Forest Defense.

Reach reporter Jill Briskey at 776-4485, or e-mail