Mannequin strikes a pose as part of dispute over tree

EVERETT – The mannequin strapped 30 feet in the air to a stripped maple tree outside the Best Little Doorhouse wore a hard hat and a slight smirk.

Michael O’Leary / The Herald

A mannequin perches on what’s left of a tree outside the Best Little Doorhouse in Everett on Wednesday.

She took her perch Tuesday afternoon when she was hoisted up by a forklift and tied to the tree in protest.

The owners of the garage door business on Hewitt Avenue want the tree removed, but so far the city has refused, Doorhouse chief executive Dan Duncan said.

“If they don’t take the tree down, the mannequin is staying, and we’ve got a lot more mannequins,” he said Wednesday afternoon.

Two hours after The Herald contacted city spokeswoman Kate Reardon about the mannequin, firefighters removed it from the tree “because it’s inappropriate and it’s in the public right of way,” Reardon said.

Duncan said he was told last week that he was responsible for maintaining the maple tree.

So, he did.

On Tuesday, the 60-foot tree was pruned almost in half. Nearly all the branches were lopped off, and not a single leaf was left.

“I like that stick,” Duncan said. “We might not be done trimming.”

The mannequin, used for trade shows, was taken out of a closet, dressed in a company jacket, skirt and hard hat, and strapped to the top of the tree.

Duncan said he asked the city numerous times to cut down the tree, saying it and another maple on his property line were nuisances. The tree’s roots broke water pipes and flooded the business several years ago, and the city paid Duncan and a neighboring business for the damage, he said.

The tree also obstructs The Best Little Doorhouse sign, and birds perch on the branches and leave droppings on vehicles parked underneath, he said.

Duncan said he filled out an application a couple of months ago to have the tree removed, and even offered to foot the bill. While his request was denied, he said other trees along Hewitt have been cut down recently.

“I don’t like being singled out. Everyone should be treated fairly,” he said.

The city has a procedure for removing trees that are a hazard or dead, Reardon said. “We are disappointed that he felt he needed to deface his tree,” she said.

“I want to see the ordinance that says I can’t have a mannequin in a tree,” Duncan said before it was taken down.

He said he didn’t hear any complaints about the mannequin.

Charlie Brown, who owns a car detailing business across the street, wasn’t opposed to the neighborhood’s new addition.

“I think it gives character. It attracts people,” Brown said. “I just think the city should bend a little bit.”

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