A trial to that could help shape the way Oregon manages its forest trust lands is underway in Linn County.

Linn, 13 other counties and many smaller taxing districts are seeking $1.4 billion in damages, saying the state has failed to manage more than 1,000 square miles for its “greatest permanent value” as required.

The the trial began Thursday. It’s expected to last three weeks, and whatever the verdict is, it will likely be appealed.

The trust land used to be owned by the counties but was turned over to the state about 80 years ago. The state said it would manage the timberland its “greatest permanent value,” but the counties say the state has failed to do so since 2001, when it adopted a plan that emphasizing the protection of wildlife, clean water and recreation.

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