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13-Year-Old Girl Attempts to Save Tree from Housing Developers

Aired March 16, 2000 - 2:55 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, in Western Oregon, battles have raged for years over saving old trees, and it's usually environmentalists versus big business.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: But in this case, it's housing developers versus a 13-year-old girl. We have the story from CNN affiliate KOIN in Portland.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNE JAEGER, KOIN REPORTER (voice-over): When 13-year-old Lucia Henry tied herself to an old dug fir, she knew her protests wouldn't stop progress. Everyone told her.

LUCIA HENRY, 13-YEAR-OLD PROTESTER: They said that it was crazy.

JAEGER: Crazy because the chainsaws buzz on private property she has no say about. Trees are felled for new homes. Even so, she's tied to the tree because of it's ties to her past, specifically, that clump there. It was here when her great grandfather was.

HENRY: He nicked it, and it just grew with a little hump, and me and my sister used to sit under it to wait for the buses. So it was kind of a special tree.

JAEGER: Special or not, it'll be the next to go.

(on camera): Then something happened: The city came calling, and the chainsaws stopped. They city slapped up a neon orange stop- work order. It seems the developer is breaking the rules. So the developer illegally cut down 30 too many trees. But will those mistakes save Lucia's tree?

(voice-over): No retrieve. These trees aren't so special after all, and won't be saved just because all the others marked X's are gone. No, they block a sidewalk. Mind you, it'll be the only strip of sidewalk on the entire street.

But you might expect the city to be kind of upset about the developers mistake and expect a fine for cutting all those big, old trees. Lots of money in that lumber.

Did the city listen? GEORGE HELM, CITY OF PORTLAND: I would say we fell on deaf ears. We did have an approved clearing plan. They'd obviously gone far beyond that.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: The city planned this outdoor meeting with the developer before Lucia's protest but just a day too late for the trees.

HENRY: Guess they're in trouble.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Lucia's knowledge about policies, permits, site reviews is as green as her favorite tree. But somehow, this little girl's ties to this tree throttled the big boys, for at least a week.

Ann Jaeger, KOIN-6 News.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WATERS: She gave it a shot.

ALLEN: She sure did.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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