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Tre Arrows climb attracts firefighters

Activist wants attention for a message as fire crews try to figure out why he's up there

Environmental activist and convicted arsonist Tre Arrow spent part of Sunday afternoon high in a tree hoping for media attention.

Portland firefighters determined that Arrow, who had climbed about 50 feet up a tree in a yard near Southeast 44th Avenue and Stark Street, wasn't in danger. They sent a ladder truck to the tree to see if he needed help getting down, but Arrow told firefighters he wanted to stay in the tree and get media attention for a message about nature.

Firefighters were called at about 4:25 p.m. to the house, where a man later identified as Arrow had climbed up the tree. Once it was determined that he wasn't suicidal or in danger, firefighters left about an hour and 15 minutes later.

'Our No. 1 priority is safety,' said Chief Dan Buckner. 'Once we determined the man was not suicidal we did not want to take any action that could cause harm to him or to firefighters.'

The owner of the property gave permission for Arrow to be in the tree.

Arrow, 37, whose real name is Michael Scarpitti, gained fame in July 2000 when he spent 11 days on a ledge at the entrance to the U.S. Forest Service building in downtown Portland protesting plans to log the forest near Eagle Creek. The Forest Service eventually backed off the logging plan.

Arrow ran for Congress as a Pacific Green Party candidate in 2000. During that same time, he was accused of setting an arson fire in several Ross Island Sand and Gravel Co. trucks as part of an environmental protest. He fled to Canada but was returned to the United States in February 2008 to face 14 counts of arson and conspiracy for acts by the Earth Liberation Front.

In June 2008, he pled guilty to two acts of arson and was sentenced to 78 months in federal prison. A year later, he was released to a halfway house to serve his sentence.