Bluhon Group | Deescalating Conflict in the Trees

Deescalating Conflict in the Trees


Environmental activists and community members opposed plans to displace a portion of  a an oak grove at the foot of U.C. Berkeley’s Memorial Stadium for construction of a high performance athletic facility. Activists — unaffiliated with an organization — occupied several trees for over two years delaying the university’s construction start. The Office of the Vice Chancellor retained Bluhon Group to seek a peaceful resolution to the dispute.


Mr. Bluhon conducted a “single-text” dialogue between tree-sit representatives and a team of university team consisting of the vice chancellor, deputy police chief, head of public affairs, and a representative from planning. Chancellor. The text emerged as a single point of discussion about values, goals, and potential options for resolution from the perspective of the university and activists. Bluhon met on a daily basis with the activists and the university to reduce tensions, clarify areas of incorrect project information, and consider long-term options for cooperation.


Tensions settled and the stand off ended peacefully without injury or violence. The facility was completed and commissioned in 2012.


U.C. Berkeley, Office of the Vice Chancellor