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Protester facing removal plans to chain self in tree

A Columbia woman has lived in a tree since Monday in protest of trail construction on Rollins Street.

Boone County Judge Jeff Harris approved an order Friday to allow the sheriff's department to remove any people with a local organization from the area.

It's Our Wild Nature chairwoman Sutu Forte has slept in the tree on Bluffdale Drive each night.

Pat Holt, a supporter of 67-year-old Forte, said she believes Forte will remain in the tree until law enforcement officials make her come down.

"She will stay up there until they take her down," Holt said.

Holt said the construction project should have gone before the citizens of Columbia as a public vote.

“All the city would have to do is consent to make a referendum to let the citizens of Columbia choose whether or not to make a trail through the woods," Holt said.

The new trail construction is scheduled to start Nov. 4 and will connect Rollins Street to the Bluffdale Drive cul-de-sac.

The design and construction of the trail was approved in 2018 by the Columbia City Council.

The city is paying for the $2.8 million trail project with federal funding.

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Jasmine Ramirez

Jasmine Ramirez covers areas including Cole and Callaway counties and Jefferson City for ABC 17’s evening broadcasts.


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