Title

The Clinton Administration, the Northwest Forest Conference, and Managing Conflict: When Talk and Structure Collide

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title

Society & Natural Resources

Publication Date

1996

Publisher

Taylor & Francis

Volume

9

Issue

1

First Page

77

Last Page

91

Abstract

Management of the public forest lands in the Pacific Northwest is in crisis, caught between ecological and economic values, and the people who hold them. Recognizing this, presidential candidate Bill Clinton pledged in 1992 to hold a “timber summit”; early in his administration. The president honored that promise, chairing, along with Vice President Gore and four cabinet members, a day-long “Forest Conference”; in Portland, Oregon, on April 2, 1993. This article examines the Forest Conference as a conflict management effort. It provides a context for evaluating the Forest Conference as conflict management, and then outlines three basic dispute resolution approaches relevant to the conference: traditional public participation, arbitration, and multiparty collaboration. Application of these approaches reveals that President Clinton's “collaborative”; discourse could not be sustained by, and was inconsistent with, the arbitration-like structure of the conference. Clinton's “60-day pledge”; of action transformed the conflict situation into one of traditional public participation. The Clinton administration's discourse of collaboration could not overcome noncollaborative conference and planning structures, resulting in a conflict management opportunity lost.

DOI

10.1080/08941929609380953

Comments

Originally published by Taylor & Francis. Abstract available through remote link. Subscription required to access article fulltext.