Man climbs a tree, shuts down Seattle streets for a day – CBS News

SEATTLE - Mankind’s relationship with trees is mostly one-sided: we clearly need them more than they need us. In Seattle, one man may have taken that idea a little too far.

Despite many hours of police coaxing, he remained near the top of an 80-foot tall sequoia tree in downtown Seattle early Wednesday, refusing to come down.

CBS affiliate KIRO reports that after 17 hours of the incident, downtown Seattle streets remain closed as officials struggle for a solution to get him out of there.

Authorities were alerted to an unidentified man in the tree around 11 a.m. local time Tuesday and he was still clinging to its branches early Wednesday morning.

He scrambled down toward the bottom just before 9 p.m. Tuesday but soon made his way back up, snapping branches along the way.

KIRO reports a crowd gathered around the tree next to the Macy’s building when fire crews first responded.

People initially weren’t sure if the man was awake, but then a KIRO Chopper video showed him throwing an object at medics, which was reportedly an apple.

Seattle police say when authorities arrived at the base of the lofty conifer, the man refused to speak with them.

“Issue appears to be between the man and the tree,” Seattle police tweeted.

With traffic diverted from the area, the man in the tree has become the talk of the town.

“It is quite a spectacle, honestly,” police spokesman Patrick Michaud told The Seattle Times.

Michaud said police want to make sure the man can get down without hurting himself or someone else and added that rushing it could create a dangerous situation. Police have said he appears to be suffering from a crisis and has been yelling intermittently.

The incident has attracted onlookers and grown in popularity on social media with new Twitter accounts dedicated to it and the hashtag #manintree trending on Twitter and Facebook.

The man, appearing disheveled with a large beard, longer hair and a red knit hat he dropped during the day, has also ripped multiple branches from the tree and tossed them at the ground and at negotiators, who caught many of them.

Seattle Department of Transportation officials will review the health of the tree, believed to have been there since the 1970s, once the incident is resolved, police said.

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