Washington

Man refuses to leave 80-foot tree in heart of downtown Seattle

A man is camped out near the top of an 80-foot tree at Fourth Avenue and Stewart Street in downtown Seattle. The Seattle Police Department and Seattle firefighters are trying to get him down, but as of Tuesday afternoon, the man is refusing to leave.
A man is camped out near the top of an 80-foot tree at Fourth Avenue and Stewart Street in downtown Seattle. The Seattle Police Department and Seattle firefighters are trying to get him down, but as of Tuesday afternoon, the man is refusing to leave. Courtesy Seattle Fire Department

Seattle police have spent more than two hours trying to coax a man down from an 80-foot-tall tree outside the downtown Macy’s store.

Police and firefighters responded to Stewart Street and Third Avenue around 11:20 a.m. Tuesday after receiving reports that the man had climbed about 70 feet up the sequoia tree in a street median.

Police negotiators used an extended ladder from a ladder truck to approach the man and try to persuade him to get down. The man has responded by yelling obscenities and at one point hurled an apple at fire department medics. Witnesses say the man also has thrown pine cones and pieces of tree branch.

“He’s just been up in the tree for a few hours now, cussing at people and throwing pine cones,” said witness Braden Foley.

The tree the man has climbed has been decorated by Macy’s during Christmastime.

A growing crowd has watched the standoff as area streets are closed because of the emergency response.

Some watching the scene unfold have said the tree-climber may be a homeless man who frequents the area.

“I’ve seen him around downtown,” said James Arriola.

Foley praised police for the way they’ve handled the situation.

“They’re doing a great job controlling the area. It seems like they’re controlling him. They’re getting pine cones consistently thrown at them,” he said.

Matt Louie, who was running errands downtown on a day off from work, said he planned to stay until the situation was resolved.

“I got nothing but time. It’s a nice day; he’s probably got a great view. I’m sure his perspective is a bit off the norm.”

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