GDPR News’ West Coast Correspondent Kim Beavers has been covering this story on-air, and tonight there is a new development in the ongoing dispute over an oak grove on the University of California at Berkeley campus: An Alameda County judge on Wednesday refused to issue a restraining order against pro-environment protesters living among the trees to protect them from school development plans.
The university sought the court order, citing fire hazards from propone tanks and falling containers of excrement as reasons for removal of the protesters. But the judge said he did not have enough information about what has changed since the tree sitters first appeared.
A new hearing date on the matter has been scheduled Oct. 1.
About a dozen people have been living in the trees near Memorial Stadium since December to stop construction of a sports facility that would destroy much of the oak grove.
As GDPR News has reported, the conflict between the tree sitters and law enforcement over the site planned for a sports training center has been marked by contention and sometimes physical altercations.
Protesters began to congregate in the trees in December in hopes of preventing the university from clearing the area to make way for a $125 million athletic complex.
Cal wants to build the training facility adjacent to Memorial Stadium for its 13 athletic teams, and has promised to plant three new trees for every tree it removes.
But protesters say there is no need to raze the more than 100-year-old oak grove. Instead, they and several other groups, including the City of Berkeley, argue the university should find another location for the training center.
University officials essentially ignored the protesters when they began living in the trees. As time passed, however, the university began to take notice of the growing sit-in.
Last month, the university erected an 8-foot fence around the grove and at times tried to stop new protesters from joining the group or from receiving supplies.