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Indybay Feature
Tue Apr 8 2014 (Updated 04/25/14)
Call Out to Defend Redwood Grove from Jacobs Institute
Tue Apr 8 2014 (Updated 04/25/14)
UC Berkeley and Paul Jacobs Make First Cuts To Redwood Grove, Groundbreaking Held
UPDATE: On April 23, UC Berkeley removed all of the redwoods behind Soda Hall, despite assurances some would stay.

On April 6, University of California Berkeley cut down the support foliage, including oaks, at the redwood grove behind Soda Hall. Larger redwoods have been severely pruned as well, and smaller redwoods have been removed entirely. Paul Jacobs of Qualcomm wants the lot for a $20,000,000 privatized tech design institute, named after himself. The UC and Paul Jacobs have been ignoring public demand to save the trees. By cutting down a protected species, the design institute goes against its own founding principals, expressed by Paul Jacobs, that that project minimize any negative impact to the environment.

Members of the UC and residents have been attempting to preserve the trees through legal channels, an email campaign, and civil disobedience. The UC police are claiming that tree-sitter protesters were going to damage the trees by living in them, but the UC damaged the trees by cutting them purposefully. Furthermore, the UC intends to cut down all the trees in the grove. The UC police cordoned off the the grove and the volleyball court behind Soda Hall with police tape, and have subsequently placed a metal fence around the area. Nobody is allowed into the public space behind Soda Hall.

The public groundbreaking ceremony for the Paul Jacobs Design Institute was held on Cal Day, April 12, behind Soda Hall. Save the Ridge Redwoods has called for a "wave of action" protest to defend the trees at Ridge Road and Le Roy Avenue in Berkeley.

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