Willits Bypass “Crane-Sitter” Resupplied in Stealth Climb


A protester perched atop a wick drain stitcher being used to build the US 101 highyway bypass in Willits, CA, 28 June 2013

A mysterious climber ascended Caltrans equipment on the Willits Bypass Project Wednesday evening in order to resupply a protester who has been perched 50 feet up in the air on a construction tower for a week.

Last week, 31-year-old Ukiah resident Will Parrish climbed one of the two pieces of Caltrans equipment used to install wick drains at the site in order to stall work in the Mendocino County highway construction zone.

Fellow activists argue that Parrish has been denied food and water, while authorities state that Parrish is free to leave the tower for food and water and that protesters attempting to bring him supplies are trespassing on Caltrans property.

On Saturday evening, 45 protesters attempted to send supplies up to Parrish in a bucket. According to Earth First!, CHP officers cut the rope and arrested six individuals. According to CHP, four individuals were arrested.

On Wednesday, a second person climbed the second wick drain tower. Jamie Chevalier, a spokeswoman with Redwood Nation Earth First!, said the mystery climber was “like a ninja.”

”He climbed the tower in full daylight with CHP everywhere,” she said. “Then after around six hours he managed to traverse a line over to the other tower 60 feet away for supplies and vanished into the night.”

Chevelier estimated that the entire event took place between 5 p.m. and midnight. She said the supply line is still in place and has a 5,000 pound breaking

strength.

District 1 Caltrans Public Information Officer Phil Frisbie Jr. confirmed that Parrish had been resupplied and said Caltrans personnel are not at the site that late at night.

”He was gone by the morning,” Frisbie said of the resupplier.

Frisbie said the machinery cannot operate with the protesters on it and that protests over four months have directly cost taxpayers $1.2 million by causing delays.