TILLAMOOK, Ore. — Sixteen demonstrators protesting a thinning operation in Tillamook State Forest were arrested Saturday after they entered a restricted area, officials said.
The arrests came during a noon rally to support fellow protester Matthew Hill, who was in intensive care with a head injury, collapsed lung and pelvic fracture Saturday after falling from a hemlock tree overnight.
Protesters’ reports of the 16 arrests were confirmed by a Clatsop County Sheriff’s Office dispatcher.
Hill, who went by the name of "Ridge," was taken first to Tillamook County General Hospital, then transferred to Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland. He is in serious condition, but was conscious, a nursing supervisor said.
No age or home town was available for Hill, and hospital staff said they were not yet sure the name he gave them was his true identity.
Before Hill’s fall, Tillamook County sheriff’s deputies chased him to near the top of a 100-foot hemlock in an effort to get him down. They had tried to remove him from the tree since Thursday.
"We are extremely concerned about this event and about the individual who fell and we implore those who are in the operation illegally to please leave immediately," said Tillamook District forester Mark Labhart.
He said the injury "didn’t have to happen." He said Hill was given multiple opportunities to be helped down safely without arrest.
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