25 years ago: Protesters make last-ditch effort to save cottonwoods

From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for March 2, 1989:

Four people were arrested this week in connection with a “perch-in” protest, part of a last-ditch effort to save a stand of cottonwood trees standing in the way of the future Riverfront Mall. The four, who said their protest was not organized by the local grassroots group POETs (Protect Our Eagles’ Trees), had arrived early in the morning at the site after a federal judge in Kansas City, Kansas, had on the previous day rejected an attempt to block the felling of the cottonwoods. “I’m just a concerned citizen,” said one of the protesters. “Three weeks ago, I sat on a sandbar down there and watched a bald eagle fish from this very tree.” Three of the protesters had climbed into the trees along the river’s south bank, and one man had chained himself to a tree trunk. The man chained to the tree was the first to be arrested at about 6:30 a.m. The demonstrators sitting in the trees were also placed under arrest, but police made no immediate attempt to remove them from the area, instead offering them water, blankets, and hot coffee. The protesters were driven out eventually by 23-degree temperatures and light snow. The four, who had been released on $100 recognizance bonds, were scheduled to appear the following week in Douglas County District Court on charges of criminal trespass.