At 4:25 pm Portland Fire & Rescue responded, per police request, to SE 44th and Stark to reports of a man in a tree. At 4:30 pm, fire crews from Station 9 (Hawthorne District) and Station 1 (OldTown) arrived to find a man who had climbed roughly 40 to 50 feet up a tree and was yelling that he was Tre Arrow, a known activist.
Truck 1 positioned their apparatus for use of the aerial ladder, which has a bucket on the end that is used to transport firefighters and patients. After getting close to the man he claimed that he wanted media attention regarding a message he wished to communicate about nature and he did not want to leave the tree with the firefighters.
Crews quickly called for a representative from Project Respond, who works with mental health patients, to confirm that he was not suicidal. Once the representative was on scene firefighters accompanied her in the bucket back up to talk with the man. It was determined that he was not suicidal nor was he a danger to himself or others.
"Our number one priority is safety. 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." said Chief Dan Buckner.
The owner of the property was contacted and gave permission for the man to be in the tree. Because he was not trespassing or a danger to anyone, fire crews soon returned in service but remain ready in case any changes occur at the scene. It is important for crews to return in-service and available for other emergencies as soon as an incident is stabilized. When a fire company is unavailable because they are on an incident in their own area, response times from adjacent stations increase due to travel times and other factors.
Fire crews cleared the scene at 5:47 pm. It was later confirmed by the man’s girlfriend that he was, in fact, Tre Arrow. More information will be given as it becomes available.
Pictures are courtesy of Dick Harris, Portland Fire & Rescue photographer.