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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Breaking News:Climbers in Oak Trees NOW To Remove Tree-Sitters

Court Decision in UCB Oak Grove Expected Tomorrow June 18

At least five hired contract climbers are up in the branches of the oak trees in the threatened oak grove on UCB campus to take down tree-sitters the day before the decisive court ruling is expected. Police are cordoning off the area with barricades as oaks supporters are converging on the site. The climbers and a large contingent of police arrived about 6:30 a.m. The situation is unfolding rapidly.

Supporters are needed there NOW. The grove is located in the 2000 block of Piedmont Ave in Berkeley, one block north of Bancroft Way.
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Karen Pickett
Bay Area Coalition for Headwaters
2530 San Pablo Ave.
Berkeley, California 94702



Raid on Tree-Sit as Oak Grove Supporters Await Court Decision
by bach r Tuesday Jun 17th, 2008 1:50 PM
UC Berkeley Police Raid Tree-Sits, Escalating Drama Before Court Decision in Oak Grove Case Judge Will Rule on Wed., June 18 Community Supporters of the Oaks On Hand At the Grove
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Berkeley, CA- This morning about 6:30 am, dozens of University of California (UCB) police and at least five hired contract climbers arrived at the Oak Grove, site of a year and a half long tree-sit protest. The hired arborists climbed up in the branches of the oak trees in the threatened oak grove on UCB campus and cut down platforms, climbing gear, ropes, food bags, water and other supplies that all came down to the ground, but the sitters remain. One tree-sitter had his climbing rope cut under him and was left hanging by his arms. He managed to regain a position back on a traverse line between branches. This rapidly unfolding situation is taking place the day before the decisive court ruling is expected. Police are cordoning off the area with barricades as oaks supporters have converged on the site. Police have now closed Piedmont Avenue in the northbound direction and a large crowd is on the scene.
Supporters are not only protecting the trees, but keeping a highly risky situation under check, since the hired arborists are experienced at pruning trees, but not the kind of risky activity that would be involved in extracting the tree-sitters from their perches.
There will be a candlelight vigil on Tuesday night (June 17) at the oak grove starting at 8 pm. Oak Grove supporters are expected to gather early Wednesday morning to await word of the decision. The Oak Grove is located in the 2000 block of Piedmont Ave in Berkeley, one block north of Bancroft Way.
A campaign to save a grove of mature coast live oak trees from University of California's (UCB) axe that blossomed Dec. 2, 2006, when a couple intrepid activists climbed high into the branches and set up tree-sits that have lasted over a year and a half. It all comes to a head when Judge Barbara Miller announces her decision in the long standing court case tomorrow on Wednesday, June 18, but things have started earlier than grove supporters expected.
Superior Court Judge Miller's decision comes 9 months after a long trial of cases filed separately by the City of Berkeley, the Panoramic Hills Association, the California Oaks Foundation, Save the Oaks organization, and other individuals, but joined together by the judge. At issue in the case is whether the University can legally proceed with their massive development plans linked to the Memorial Stadium, long recognized as needing earthquake retrofit. This year and a half has seen lawsuits filed against protesters by the University, police actions, national media attention, recognition of the site as a Native burial ground, with community support for protection of the grove and the tree-sitters growing progressively stronger despite UCB's massive PR campaign.
After the tree-sits were launched on Dec. 2, 2006, the campaign became iconic of protection of sacred sites and Native burial grounds in addition to the ecological issues, including the biological link the grove represents in the urban-wildlands interface. The site is also adjacent to the active Hayward fault. Moreover, it is illegal under City of Berkeley ordinance to cut mature coast live oak trees.###

2 comments:

Rose said...

'Bout time!

XANTAR!!!!! said...

Forest Defenders have much more supporters than dissenters, especially as the effects of global warming and climate change are realized by the majority of the population. It is helpful, I suppose, for us to have opposition from those who care nothing for the Earth. It gives the Earth's Guardians more reason for direct action and to teach others how to care for our planet. Thank you Rose, you are an inspiration to us all:).