John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
After magnetizing the city with his pine cone-chucking, whittling antics, Seattle’s tree-climbing dude is back on terra firma.
UPDATE 11:50 A.M. PT: He’s down!
ORIGINAL: On Tuesday morning, police noticed a man clinging to the top of an 80-foot sequoia in downtown Seattle. He was scruffy, with a long beard and hoodie, and excited, throwing an apple and reportedly pine cones at nearby medics.
Well, he’s still up there, and the entire city seems to be watching on KOMO News’ livestream. (It has had hiccups; here’s a cached version if it goes down.) “He wants to stay up there for weeks? We don’t know,” narrates a member of the news team, some of whom have been reporting this story for 21 hours. He adds, cryptically: “When nature calls, he answers the call. That’s all I’m going to say about that.”
The man has been able to maintain his perch overnight thanks to 1) a supporting nest he crafted out of branches, and 2) the patience or bewilderment of police, who are trying to negotiate with him through windows. Whether he’ll be talked down is anybody’s guess. So far nothing has worked—he goes through fits of agitated arm-waving, and then settles back into his perch (where he occasionally whittles).
The scene on the ground is a circus. The person who shot the above photo offers this observation:
This dude has made the traffic a nightmare past couple of days... He has climbed up an 80-ft tall sequoia tree in downtown Seattle by Macy’s and has been throwing pine cones, apples, branches at passerbys and not fire department can’t talk him down... He’s ruining this beautiful old tree as you can see... How hard is it people? Pretend it’s a cougar or bear! Set up a net around the lower beaches, get the tranquilizer gun, pop and off he comes down... It'll hurt, but so does having him being up there in this frigid rainy weather! Aghhhh..... Seattle, why did we legalize Marijuana again?
As of 11 a.m. local time, a rubbernecker had shown up with his pet pygmy goat.
Some more views: