Chiara D'Angelo stands atop a platform 70 feet above the ground to protest the cutting of 800 trees for a new Bainbridge Island shopping center. She came down Tuesday evening amidst threats of arrest. (Charles A. Conatzer photo)

Teen mourns losing trees to development on Bainbridge Island

Less than 24 hours after a Bainbridge Island teen came down from her perch in a 70 foot tall evergreen, developers moved in to fell her beloved trees.

Chiara D'Angelo, 19, climbed the tree early Monday morning in an effort to stop developers from cutting down over 800 trees to make way for a 60,000+ square foot shopping center.

She told KIRO Radio she has been out at the site Wednesday watching the trees come down.

"It's just a sad story. Birds are constantly flying out of the trees. I see them consistently flying out. I'm at the site now watching the animals," D'Angelo said.

Despite losing the battle, D'Angelo believes she at least changed the dialogue on Bainbridge Island.

"It was more about holding staff accountable for not listening to the planning commission... that worked," D'Angelo said.

The new shopping center is expected to be home to a KeyBank branch, Bartell Drugs, restaurants and other businesses.

D'Angelo is not planning any more protests, but hopes she's influenced enough people to change how developments are planned in the future.

"I think this is part of the story that's more about processing what's happening and less about rallying. This where you acknowledge the sadness, you process that, and then you change things," she said.

D'Angelo and other supporters have started a campaign to boycott the new mall and to contact KeyBank to voice distaste over the development.

KIRO Radio's Jillian Raftery contributed to this report.

Stephanie Klein, Editor
Stephanie joined the team in February 2008. She has built the site into a two-time National Edward R. Murrow Award winner (Best Radio Website 2010, 2012).
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