WILLITS, CA – Work was disrupted today at the Willits Bypass construction site on Thursday when a protester climbed a 150 foot construction crane to unfurl a banner reading, “NO BYPASS”. The protester is continuing to occupy the crane and refuses to come down.
Supporters and friends have maintained a 24 hour presence at the work site since the protester ascended the crane early Thursday morning.
At today's action and on June 12th, activists blocked CalTrans from installing wicks used to drain wetlands in preparation for the Willits Bypass. The occupation of the crane has further delayed work on the controversial Bypass project.
CalTrans plans to drain Little Lake Valley's wetlands with over 55,000 wicks as part of their plan to re-route Highway 101 around Willits.
The "crane-sit" is the latest in a series of direct actions by the group Little Lake Defenders. Past actions have included road-side rallies, multiple tree-sits, lock-downs to construction equipment, and general civil disobedience at the construction site. Go to Forestdefender's blog for a timeline and more photos of Willits Bypass protests.
Willits residents list a number of reasons they are taking direct action to stop the construction of the Willits Bypass. Many residents are certain the re-routing of the 101 will not only destroy the wetland ecosystem of Little Lake Valley, but also fail to alleviate traffic congestion while damaging local businesses who depend on business from through-traffic.