Skip to comments.The Search for Tre Arrow, Ecoterrorist
Posted on 11/15/2002 10:38:34 PM PST by ex-Texan
The Search for Tre Arrow, Ecoterrorist
FBI searches for activist some call an ecoterrorist, others call a hero Apolitical Florida teen transforms himself into NW forest champion
BY BEN JACKLET
Tre Arrow burst into Portland like Bob Dylan blew into Greenwich Village 40 years ago.
A gifted performer with a self-invented moniker, he arrived from parts unknown, embraced an underground scene and quickly climbed into the spotlight.
Arrow has since crashed to earth in more ways than one. Two years after he gained rock star status by spontaneously free-climbing and occupying a ledge on a downtown building, and one year after he broke his pelvis in a brutal, 65-foot fall from an endangered tree, he has been branded an ecoterrorist by the federal government.
Federal officials issued a warrant for the Florida natives arrest on felony arson charges July 13. Four months later, they still havent caught him.
FBI spokeswoman Beth Anne Steele says agents are looking very hard for Arrow. Steele would not confirm a report that agents recently had pursued Arrow at a friends home in Pennsylvania.
We simply wont get into details about where or how were looking, she says.
Arrow is being pursued by the FBI and Rolling Stone magazine, but he wont be an easy find. The elusive activist has proved his ability to subsist in remote places.
Portland attorney Greg Kafoury, who has served as a legal adviser for Arrow, quips that the FBI will probably have more luck finding Osama bin Laden.
Meanwhile, three Portland State University students Jake Sherman, Angie Cesario and Jeremy Rosenbloom are facing felony arson charges in Portland without the man who has been depicted in court documents as their recruiter and leader.
A federal indictment charges the students and Arrow, whose legal name is Michael James Scarpitti, with setting fire to three logging trucks owned by Ray Schoppert Logging Co. near the controversial Eagle Creek timber sale in Mount Hood National Forest. If convicted, each defendant could be jailed for up to 80 years.
According to the affidavit of FBI Special Agent Diana Kimes, the 28-year-old Arrow recruited the younger students for the arson and pushed them into following through when Sherman expressed doubts about the mission. An incendiary device blew up in Shermans face when he lighted it, singeing his eyebrows and arm hair.
Arrows fellow forest activists say he wouldnt hurt a fly. Many believe the charges against him are politically motivated, or the work of provocateurs who are serving the interests of the timber industry.
Ivan Maluski, a longtime Portland forest activist, says Arrow is not an arsonist: I just dont believe Tre was involved. Its a setup. I dont think the evidence is going to pan out.
But even his most loyal supporters cut the interview short when asked about Arrows personal history. Questions as simple as where he came from and what brought him to Portland are brushed off as irrelevant. As a result, even after two years of flying in and out of the Portland spotlight, Tre Arrow remains an enigma.
Filling in the details of Arrows past has drawn reporters including those from Rolling Stone to his hometown of Stuart, in eastern Florida.
Arrow, whose legal name remains Michael James Scarpitti, is the son of James and Melody Scarpitti. Born on Jan. 9, 1974, he grew up with two sisters in a middle-class home in Martin County, just north of Palm Beach County.
At Martin County High he is remembered as a smart, good-looking, apolitical kid who was popular with the girls and excelled at wrestling.
We called him Scrappy Dude instead of Scarpitti, says R.J. Costello, Scarpittis former wrestling coach. He was always in better shape than anybody he wrestled. He was lean, and he was ripped. He would just shake hands and get after it. He won 80 percent of his matches just because he was in such great condition.
Scarpittis interests first veered out of the wrestling room during his senior year, when a knee injury prevented him from competing. He also was jilted by a girlfriend whom he considered a soul mate, and the breakup changed his focus in life. He was voted the Class of 92s most spiritual student.
His father told the Palm Beach Post that Scarpittis interest in the environment began at Florida State University, where he became a vegetarian and took alternative classes.
In time Scarpitti planned and staged rallies for animal rights and the environment with the same intensity he previously had applied to wrestling. He moved from a vegetarian diet to a raw-foods-only diet, and began writing songs and attending political events.
He left Florida State in the spring of 1996, a nongraduate in good academic standing. Two years later, he was arrested in Cincinnati and charged with illegally handing out fliers in front of the home of Procter & Gamble executive John Pepper during an animal rights protest.
He was wearing a bunny suit at the time of his arrest.
The climb to fame
Forest activist Maluski remembers when Arrow signed up to volunteer with Cascadia Forest Alliance, the leaderless Portland group that organizes demonstrations and tree-sits to stop the logging of public lands.
In May 2000, activist Julia Butterfly Hill, who spent more than two years in a California redwood tree to protect it from logging, was speaking at the First Unitarian Church on Southwest 12th Avenue. During her speech, Hill encouraged the audience to help the alliance stop the Eagle Creek cut.
Tons of people came to our table, and Tre was one of them, Maluski recalls. I believe we had two tree-sits and two road blockades going at the time, so we were looking for help.
Within weeks Arrow had joined an alliance camp near Eagle Creek. Like many young activists who migrate to and through Portland, he simply caught a ride to the forest, no questions asked.
If you come to our office, well bring you to the woods, said alliance volunteer Kim Marks. People come in from L.A. or wherever, hop off freight trains, come by our office, and we just take them right out to the woods.
Shortly after Arrow arrived at the forest camp, it was raided. U.S. Forest Service employees used pepper spray to break up the gathering.
That raid led to a hastily scheduled protest in July outside of the forest services regional headquarters at 333 S.W. First Ave. in Portland.
During the demonstration, Arrow free-climbed the building like Spider-Man, up to a 9-inch-wide ledge on the third story. He stayed there for 11 days, becoming an instant celebrity.
Maluski credits Arrows bold move with turning the tide against the Eagle Creek sale, which was canceled last April after intervention from Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore.
Everybody was talking about Tre and what he did, Maluski says. And all of a sudden people in Washington, D.C., were expressing an incredible amount of interest in resolving the Eagle Creek situation.
(Excerpt) Read more at portlandtribune.com ...
I would suggest checking seeing if he is working as an intern for Portlan Mayor Vera Katz or the outgoing enviral rat Governer, Katznslobber.
If that fails check the editorial staff of all left wing fishwraps in Portland, Salem, Eugene, Ashland and any city with a university should be checked to see if he is professor of enviralist facism.
It took awhile for the officials to identify Arrow on the night of his fall, because he was carrying someone elses identification card. When his court date for interfering with an agricultural operation arrived in August, he failed to appear.
Fake ID; failure to appear in court. Yet he did appear beforehand and even served out his sentence (community time spent cleaning up areas).
Sounds to me like he has been radicalized and therefore arson is not out of the question.