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****Breaking news****

September 18, 2015

Developer signs deal to save Eastmoreland sequoias

Deal reached to save Portland trees

PORTLAND, Ore. — The property owner on Friday said he signed a deal to protect three giant sequoias in Portland’s Eastmoreland neighborhood that residents had been trying to save for months.

Developer Ethan Beck stepped in to take over the property from owner Vic Remmers, with plans to build a smaller house there and keep the trees intact.

Portland resident Allen Bradford helped broker the tentative deal, and told KGW that South Park co-creator Matt Stone provided a significant amount of money to save the trees.

The neighborhood group had raised over $550,000 but needed at least another $200,000 to purchase the property.

Remmers confirmed the signed deal on Friday. Specifics were not released.

Protesters held a news conference and celebration Friday evening. The activist who had been in the tree since Tuesday finally came down.

Background:

On Monday, a tree removal crew arrived to take down the trees near Southeast 36th Avenue And Martins Street, but several people stood by in an attempt to save them. Portland police were at the scene throughout the morning to keep the peace between the two groups. Several people were warned that if they didn’t leave the property, they would be arrested.

It looked as though the trees would be cut down, but the removal crews left the area just before 11:30 a.m. and no arrests were made.

Remmers planned to develop the property. Neighbors tried to raise enough money to buy the land from him, but said they fell short of the $900,000 asking price.

Protesters suggested that Remmers build around the more than 100-year-old trees, in order to preserve them. But he said the trees have huge root systems that damage sewer and utility lines, so they must come out.

The Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association threatened legal action.

Thursday morning, a new fence and more than a dozen police officers had surrounded the sequoias. Meanwhile a protester remained in one of the trees and refused police commands to come down. The road was temporarily closed off to all but local residents and police said they would bring in special equipment and remove the man by force if necessary.

By Thursday afternoon, the office of Mayor Charlie Hales was involved in negotiations between neighbors and Remmers. Hales’ chief of staff, Josh Alpert, asked Remmers to hold off on cutting the trees and he asked protesters to stay off the property while the mayor’s office organized a last-minute diplomatic solution. The tentative deal involving Ethan Beck was announced just before 3 p.m. Thursday.


Mayor helps neighbors, developer strike deal to temporarily save giant Sequoias in SE Portland

Updated: Sep 17, 2015 6:27 PM

Mayor Charlie Hales stepped in to help strike a deal between a developer trying to cut down a group of giant Sequoias in southeast Portland and the protesters attempting to block their removal.

Police roped off the area around Southeast 36th Avenue and Martins Street Thursday morning as they cleared out the group of protesters camping out under the trees.

One protester, however, was situated high in the branches of one of the Sequoias and refused to come down.

Neighbors are trying to prevent developer Vic Remmers from cutting down the three giant Sequoias to make way for new housing. Neighbors said they’ve tried for months to work out a deal with Remmers that would save the trees.

On Thursday, Mayor Charlie Hales’ office said a “tentative structure of a deal” was set up to keep the trees in place, at least for now.

Specific details of the deal have not been released, but neighbors say they need to raise another $200,000 to buy the land from Remmers, who owns Everett Custom Homes. This money is in addition to the $500,000 they’ve already raised.

Several neighbors say they are staying at their protest site to ensure the trees are not cut down before they can raise the funds. 

Matt Stone, the co-creator of ‘South Park,’ will be donating to the effort. 

Stone has worked with Arthur Bradford, a neighbor who has worked to save the trees.

Bradford, who lives next to the giant Sequoias, could not help but get emotional talking about the deal.

“I will tell you something that is absolutely for certain,” he said. “If there was not a young man sitting in that tree, if there were not dedicated people that stood under those trees and were willing to get arrested for them, these trees would be cut down. Right now, they would be gone.”

 
Copyright 2015 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

This is just one battle in the fight against Demolition-Development in Portland…there are many more to be fought, and new foes arise weekly.  Please visit these sites to get activist against this blight on Portland, and many other cities: