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Protester goes to great heights

ENCINITAS — A local environmental protester created a plywood platform and squatted in an Orpheus Park tree (a tipuana tipu) in an attempt to spare it from chainsaws. Andrew Watkins of Oceanside, who goes by the nickname “Jru”, constructed the platform with two friends at 3 a.m.
Around 7:30 a.m. on Jan. 30, a two-man tree removal crew arrived and quickly cut down eight surrounding trees. The scene was observed by Encinitas Parks Director Chris Hazeltine and two Sheriff units.
One officer attempted to speak with the protester. Jru ignored the officer and continued playing his guitar and singing. He has refused to leave the plywood platform. The officers, after a short while, departed.
Encinitas Councilwoman Teresa Barth was present during the protest. She said that the decision to remove the trees was made behind closed doors and the council was not advised of this action. Barth is exploring whether or not the city can delay cutting down the remaining tree so a more reasoned, public decision can be made.
An Encinitas Parks official overseeing this project stated that they regret cutting down the trees. This was seen as the only option to restoring the view for the residents in the adjoining condo project. The city was honoring an agreement made with the condo homeowners to not block their ocean view, the official said.
It is the city’s policy to avoid topping trees because it injures the tree and is not cost-effective.
Several residents who live near Orpheus Park have proposed imposing a three-year moratorium to preserve the tree. In that time, a more appropriate, lower growth tree could be planted in the nearby area. Once the new tree is established, the offending tree could be removed without leaving the area so stark, they proposed.
As the trees were being felled, Jru called out to the crew in Spanish. “Don’t cut my brother down,” he said. “He’s my brother. My brother is in here.”
Students from Paul Ecke Central turned out with signs and chants of support for the lone remaining tree. Eleven trees were slated for removal and ten have currently been destroyed.
“Liberate the trees,” Jru said when asked for a statement.


allthatisisis February 11, 2009 at 2:58 am

These 2 posts are the updates on this ugly situation. The people of Encinitas should be ashamed of themselves for their vanity and greed. Or ashamed for not standing their ground and allowing this to happen.
Communities need a voice.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: local power san diego
Date: Sat, Feb 7, 2009 at 6:16 PM
Subject: we won!!!

please send this message of victory out to everyone you know.

hello all of my beautiful friends! the mayor called me in the rain and told me to take care of myself and that the tree would not be cut down and that the treehouse would stay as well. i am so very grateful to the people of encinitas and luecadia for all of the support and everyone from san diego and around the world for sending all of your love. the children have taken over the art treehouse project and will continue with the help of many others in the neighborhood to complete the tree garden. if you would like to be involved, just go down to the treehouse and be involved. no one is in charge as i was never in charge. i was only there because of the mission in my life to speak for those who have no voice in our society. i feel the same for people as i do for trees and bodies of water and animals and all that exists. we are all rocks. everything comes from rocks. we are made of the soil which consists of nothing more than broken down rocks. mountains that have withered down the rivers to the ocean and are as numerous as the stars in the sky. life comes to the rocks through water and light and the spark of flint becomes living bone. peace to everybody and in the spirit of the tree sit please come and bring gifts for the community and art supplies and gardening supplies for the children. it is your tree and you are the tree and the tree is the symbol of life.
p.s. there is a town hall meeting in encinitas on wednesday at 6pm. come and show your support and gratitude to the people of encinitas for building the treehouse. there is a love in scheduled for valentines day next saturday all day at orpheus park. bring instruments, blankets, food and anything you want to celebrate love.
the new myspace for the tree is
see you soon!

allthatisisis February 11, 2009 at 2:54 am

———- Forwarded message ———-
Date: Mon, 9 Feb 2009 10:29:49 -0800 (PST)
From: local power san diego

they lied to everybody. they told me they would keep the tree and the treehouse. i feel like a kid like when i went happy away to summer camp and they put my brother dog harry to sleep. i cried inside when they told me when i got home because i knew i could never trust any of them again. none of them. not even my parents. it’s still like that when you grow up they never stop lying to you on the radio and t.v. and in the papers. they are always lying from the governments to the institutions it’s all the same. if you have a chance today and all week long, call the news shows and radio stations and give them my phone number. send this email out to others who can understand the importance of my anonymity. it’s just a phone number and i’ll be changing it soon but if you can do this i’ll be able to represent the people of encinitas and luecadia and all of north county and south county san diego and all the world on the radio. i knew it was my time to leave when spirit called me up to santa barbara. i’ve got twenty oak trees growing in pots up here. see i have to take care of more trees. my heart is broken because of what they did when they lied to themselves and said they won when they murdered father tree. they are always losing when they think they are winning. keep up the fight and know we haven’t ever lost when we followed the call of spirit. i love you all and let this stand to teach us to keep believing our own truth and never believe the lying politicians.

Dave Richards February 8, 2009 at 8:02 am


The “tree sitter” has, on at least one occasion, climbed down from his perch to threaten park users in an attempt to evict them from the Park. “His Park:” as he calls it. On other occasions he has screamed at the top of his voice wild and ludicrous accusations – also in a highly threatoning tone. It is my opinion, and that of other local residences and park users that this “dru” as he calls himself is mentally & emotionally unstable and posses a threat to park users and the general public.

Furthermore, he is creating a health risk. As of Saturday morning there was a significant amount of what appeared to be trash at the base of “his” tree.

It also appears that people are ‘camping out’ overnight in this park which, if I’m not mistaken is in breach of Encinitas municiple codes.

Live in the area February 1, 2009 at 8:27 am

Encinitas City counsel makes me sick! I will not be voting for any of them next time around.
Leave the damn trees alone!

bibbo January 30, 2009 at 10:36 pm

who is randy gould? and why didn’t he tell the real story? the city parks and rec dept claims the city cut the trees based on an oral agreement made with the neighboring condo hoa. there is NO view ordinance in Encinitas. the city trims the trees every three months. the city paid to have the trees cut down today. who at the city remembers this oral agreement? who made it? is it valid if the city council doesn’t approve it in the absence of municipal law supporting a view ordinance? don’t we have a city attorney? why is phil cotton, the city manager hired by the city council , allowed to make decisions that aren’t supported by law? why weren’t any of the neighbors interviewed? that’s the real story, not some out of town treehugger.

Puebla January 30, 2009 at 9:53 pm


Tracey Berlin January 30, 2009 at 3:16 pm

Shame on the condo owners! The park just looks sad.

Tracey Berlin January 30, 2009 at 3:12 pm

Comments are closed.