Activist evicted from tree after two-month protest

After more than two months of protesting 100 feet off the ground, activist John Quigley was forced out of a giant oak tree by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies and firefighters Friday night.

Quigley’s fight to save the 400-year-old tree from being relocated due to a road expansion project ended when officials used an aerial ladder to serve a court eviction order. They used Chain-breaking tools to sever Quigley from the branches to which he had tethered himself. According to deputies, he was escorted off the property, but not arrested.

In an eviction process that took over an hour, Quigley waved to the crowd and held an American flag while he was lowered to the ground.

“I said they’d have to come and drag me out, and they did,” Quigley told the Los Angeles Times. “It’s not over yet… This is about participating in democracy.”

In a legal conflict that began in November when Quigley climbed the tree, Quigley’s lawyer and lawyers for developer John Laing Homes battled in court Friday morning over the eviction. The court order was made by Judge John P. Shook Friday after there was pressure over the time limit within which the tree could be moved.

According to Laing’s attorneys, the tree must be moved while its roots are dormant this winter. If the tree relocation were delayed, the expansion project would have to be postponed until the fall. Environmentalists argue the relocation of the tree will inevitably kill it. The tree-moving operation is planned to begin by Wednesday. The relocation of the tree is estimated to cost $250,000 and take about three months.

To read our previous article on this subject, click the link in the column to the right.