Tree protester: 'It's me against them, I'll take them on'

Frank Gordon sits underneath a tree while talking to police.
Frank Gordon sits underneath a tree while talking to police.

WEST ASHLEY, SC (WCSC) - Frank Gordon said he expected to get arrested by police after sitting under a tree in front of his West Ashley yard and stopping SCE&G workers from cutting down a pine tree.

"I've got a couple of cops, a lieutenant and a deputy chief saying, 'We're going to court,' " Gordon said. "And that's what I've been trying to do since day one! Get into court and see what legal right [SCE&G) have."

Around 8 a.m. on Wednesday, Gordon said officials knocked on his door and told him they were planning to cut a tree down due to the proximity of the tree to power lines on Wapoo Road. Gordon said he then walked out of his house and sat underneath the tree.

Forestry officials say that there's currently disagreement whether the tree in question is on public property or on Gordon's property.

"They got seven trucks and 16 men out here," Gordon said. "It's me against them."

According to SCE&G, the area where Gordon's house resides is scheduled for its regular tree trimming as part of a five-year tree trimming cycle which the company says increases the safety and reliability of electricity to customers.

"They've been trimming the trees for years and now they want to cut them down," Gordon said. "And I'm saying no! You're not going to cut them down."

Gordon said he has protected the trees for 25 years and "ran people off" who wanted to cut the trees down.

Eventually, a compromise was made and crews trimmed 5 feet off the top of the tree. Gordon said he would have chained himself to the tree if he had been given advance notice, although he now plans to keep a chain nearby.

"I'll be here tomorrow and the next day and the next day," Gordon said.

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