Protestor Living in Tree is “Chill”

In a throwback to the 1960's, a North County man made himself at home in a tree Friday that was slated for removal from a Leucadia park.  Sunday, he said he's not coming down any time soon.

“I don’t know, I’m willing to live here as long as I have to," Andrew Watkins, 27, said.  "I mean I could stay up here for a month.  I mean, the weather’s nice.  I’m thinking if it’s going to rain, maybe somebody can bring me an umbrella or something, but you know, I don’t know, it’s chill, it’s alright.”

The fate of the 25-foot tall Tipuana and 10 other healthy trees in Orpheus Park was decided several years ago between the city of Encinitas and a nearby homeowner's association, according to the North County Times.  The trees were ordered to be cut down because they blocked the view of neighbors. 

In an effort to try and save at least one of the trees, Watkins and two of his friends climbed one up one around 2:30 a.m.  Friday.  They put up a temporary plywood platform and that's where Watkins planted himself for the day.

"They're good for the community.  You should never have a park without trees... unless you're in the desert," Watkins said laughing.

While in the tree, the man has played his guitar, smiled for the cameras and entertained some fourth grade students from Paul Ecke Elementary School.  The kids, escorted by their teachers, chanted "Save the tree."

The San Diego Union-Tribune said the crew hired to cut down the trees didn't let the protest stop them from doing their job.  Ten of the trees were felled.  The trees being removed include Southern magnolias and bronze loquats, a purple orchid tree, a golden rain tree, a Chinese fringe tree, the Union-Tribune reported.

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