HILLSBORO, Ore. (AP) _ A man was beaten nearly to death at his family's Christmas tree lot by as many as a dozen teen-agers after arguing with them the night before about tossing bottles near the property.

One of two boys armed with baseball bats smashed Richard Underwood Jr. in the head during the fight. Underwood's brother, an uncle and a family friend suffered minor injuries.

Police arrested one boy for disorderly conduct and another for investigation of assault. Investigators were questioning about 30 boys identified as either participating in or witnessing the Dec. 16 attack.

The boys range from 15 to 19, police said. Five to eight of them stood by and watched the fight, which involved eight to 12 teen-agers.

Underwood, 28, had tried to mediate a confrontation the night before between his uncle, 53-year-old William Underwood, and teen-agers who had thrown wine cooler bottles into a parking lot near the family's tree lot along a highway.

One of the boys got out of a car holding a baseball bat over his head, angry that the elder Underwood had told him not to throw the glass. Richard Underwood told the boy to put down the bat, witnesses told police.

The boys left, but threatened the Underwood men. After the beating the next night, the boys bragged at Hillsboro High School that they had gotten even, investigators said.

Underwood, the father of two, was in a coma for three days and may suffer permanent brain damage, said his father. He can't speak but responds to voices with a squeeze of a hand.

``I got to the point of realization this morning that he will never be Richard again,'' his father said Monday. ``That tore my heart out.''