A man who gained international attention for sitting atop an 80-foot tree in downtown Seattle came down to the ground after perching for 24 hours.
When the 28-year-old man's feet hit the ground, the crowd cheered. He sat on the ground and ate a pear.
Police and medics approached him with restraints and a stretcher. The man appeared calm and cooperative.
Tiara Shadley watched for hours. "I was terrified. My heart was pounding. As soon as he came down, there was an overwhelming warmth of 'phew.' I'm so glad that he's safe," said Shadley.
Police said there were no plans to arrest the man. He was taken to Harborview Medical Center for a mental health evaluation.
If King County mental health evaluators think he is a danger to himself or others, he will be put on a 72-hour hold for mental health treatment.
Police say they did not know if the man is homeless. They said records showed they had a previous encounter with him but did not release the nature of that incident.
Still, no one knows why the man climbed the tree.
"There doesn't have to be a 'why'. He can just climb a tree. This is America,” said Michael Brown, who watched the man in the tree for hours.
Workers examined the tree and cut off some damaged branches. They used a Seattle City Light bucket truck to get to the top.
Once it was determined the tree was not damaged, police reopened the streets nearby.
KIRO 7 asked Seattle police and fire officials what the incident cost in overtime and resources. Seattle police expected to have an estimate in a few days.
"We're very glad we were able to work with him and bring the gentleman down out of the tree safely," said Seattle police Detective Patrick Michaud.
A crowd of people gathered around the scene -- next to the Macy’s building on Tuesday morning when fire crews first responded.
At first it was unclear if the man was unconscious, but then KIRO 7 Chopper video showed him throwing an object, which was reportedly an apple.
Negotiators have been trying to speak with the man.
Throughout the Tuesday, the man in the tree has thrown an apple, branches, pine cones and various other items at officers. Police say the man's "precarious position" high above the ground endangers himself and others.
Police did not share their strategy with KIRO 7 News on Wednesday as the scene hit its 24th hour.
The scene is drawing hundreds of onlookers and thousands more with a worldwide online audience. It also made some people ask: How long has that tree been there?
The tree was originally at Mercer Street and Aurora Avenue North and was replanted in fall 1973 at the current location. At the time it was 35 feet tall, and given 4 to 1 odds it would survive because of the replanting shock.
The tree was part of a redesign of the Jewett Triangle, named for John Jewett, a longtime Seattle businessman who died in 1971.
There is still a plaque near the base of the tree remembering Jewett, who was born in 1910, and marking the Fourth Avenue Stewart Street Triangle Improvement, which was dubbed "Operation Triangle."
"The President's Club of the Seattle Chamber of Commerce donated $1,000 to the project and the balance, $12,000, came from Forward Thrust funds," according to a Seattle Times story from Sept. 13, 1973.
By the time the tree was installed in 1973, 26 similar triangles were completed on street rights-of-way as part of Operation Triangle, according to the article. The tree was often used for Christmas celebrations since at least 1992.
In summer 2010, the city did emergency work on the sequoia tree at Fourth and Olive because of a loss to about 10 feet of the tree's top. City staff consulted with an internationally known tree expert. Soil renovation was done, and follow-up care was done for weeks to ensure the tree's survival.
Forward Thrust, which paid most of the tree replanting costs, was a collection of civic improvement bond proposals. Some Forward Thrust proposals were approved in February 1968 and May 1970 Thursday, leading to the Kingdome, arterial highways, neighborhood improvements fire protection and other changes.
One of the parts that failed in both 1968 and 1970 was a regional rail transit system - something similar to what is being done by Sound Transit now.
Cox Media Group