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.
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
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: