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Sequoia-lovers block tree cutters in Eastmoreland

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A developer began cutting sequoias in the Eastmoreland neighborhood, prompting resident activists to interfere with the tree cutters.

Protesters in the Eastmoreland neighborhood tried to block sequoias from being cut down, Sept. 14, 2015 (Courtesy: Jacob Gellman)

In a news release, Eastmoreland Association chair Robert McCullough said, “Neighbors report that Everett Custom Homes has started cutting the Giant Sequoias at SE Martins instead of continuing last Wednesday’s negotiations to save them.  We are calling for an immediate intervention of neighbors and interested parties.”

Two Portland police officers took the names of approximately 15 protesters who were interfering with the 10 tree cutters. The police said there would not be arrests at this time, but could not rule out arrests later.

A little after 11:00 a.m., the developer left the scene, leaving the trees standing for now. The protesters remained at the scene.

In late June, residents of Eastmoreland agreed to pay the developer to stop him from tearing down giant sequoia trees.

The developer, Vic Remmers of Everett Custom Homes, had planned to tear down the trees at that time to build a development on the land, but residents managed to strike a last-minute deal with him.

Protesters in the Eastmoreland neighborhood tried to block sequoias from being cut down, Sept. 14, 2015 (Courtesy: Jacob Gellman)

At that time, McCullough said residents agreed to pay Remmers $50,000 by June 24 to stop the removal of the trees and $900,000 by July 3 to buy the two lots the trees sit on.

The $50,000 is nonrefundable, so if the residents don’t raise $900,000 by July 3, they won’t get it back.

The residents did not raise the money by that deadline, which was indefinitely extended.

On July 6, the Eastmoreland GoFundMe page, seeking a total of $85,000, stated they’ve raised a little more than $14,000 as of Monday. Additionally, it states they have “53 days left to reach goal!”

Those 53 days were over August 28.

As of September 14, the GoFundMe page had raised $18,915.

KOIN 6 News will continue to follow this story.

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