Protesters had turned out early this morning, and one was arrested and cited for trespassing after cops showed up and she pushed past the caution tape set up several dozen feet away from the tree. But by the time I showed, the scene was one of quiet resignation. And noise. The tree had been denuded of branches, which were being fed into a chipper. And a sawman was up top of it, hacking it down piece by piece.
Said one onlooker as a log dropped onto the damp dirt below with a dull thud: "It's like a body."
The road has to be big enough to handle trucks, which is part of the reason it couldn't be drawn to go around the stand of trees. OH, AND THE CITY ALSO TOLD EVERYONE THE TREE WOULD HAVE TO GO SEVERAL MONTHS AGO after a long, involved public comment period that everyone apparently forgot about until it was time for the saws to start up. It's not been much comfort to protesters that the city is planning on planting new trees and using the wood chips at a park in Westmoreland.
"I just want to emphasize again that if there was any other way that we could have proceeded with this project without removing the tree we certainly would have done that," parks spokesman Mark Ross said. "It's just not possible. This option had the least impact, and the public process has been going on for years."
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