City tree trimmers leave Echo Park resident hacked off

Photo by Jamie Stathas

The branches from a trio of old oleanders at the corner of Portia Street and Scott Avenue had grown so large that they obscured a stop sign and street sweepers had begun avoiding the spot on their weekly rounds. As a result, Jamie Stathas, who lives at the corner, called the city to request that the trees be trimmed to allow the street sweepers to return.  But, instead of a trim, the trees were treated to a “hatchet job” earlier this month, Stathas said. In addition, the branches were left in the street for several days. Said Stathas said via email:

3 oleander trees  ….  were quite literally hacked in half by City service crews and the debris/brush is still blocking 2 precious parking spaces in Echo Park … I spent a couple of hours trying to rehab and blend in/prune the trees so they look better.

Stathas on Saturday emailed Councilman Eric Garcetti’s office to complain. As of this morning, the debris has been cleaned up but it’s going to take a while before those trees recover.


  1. Let’s see….city responds to call for trimming trees “to allow the street sweepers to return”. They trim trees back behind from overhanging the curb to allow street sweepers access just as the request stated and in return they get complaint letter to the Councilman. Lesson learned by city – “ignore future calls because we get nothing but grief for our efforts.” Great.

  2. Never underestimate an oleander’s ability to restore itself to it’s former state. Give it a couple of months and you will be begging the city to prune it back again.


    They’re back. . . and chopping away again! This time, they picked up after themselves.
    When asked if they could do something about the large tree at the corner half a block away and eroding the sidewalk and scraping parked cars, the answer was “It isn’t blocking the Stop Sign.” We’ve tried for four years to get that tree at least trimmed (or better yet, dug up before someone breaks a leg trying to walk by it) to no avail. As for calling Garcetti’s office, save your dime!

  4. Garcetti never answers letters from constituents. I sent him one awhile back because erosion and rain runoff from an unmaintained the alley behind my house is destroying my garage. No response. Lost my vote.

  5. They haven’t swept my part of Lake Shore Ave. in 3 years

  6. hipster jonny muir

    Just a quick update…the 10-12ft oleander tree has now been ‘re-trimmed’ by the City to a 3 inch stump-it’s been effectively removed. To me that’s akin to killing an ant w/ a sledgehammer but I’m sure other people here will find it appropriate.
    The initial estimate for the clean up was about a 1 mth wait. I did call Garcetti’s office to voice concerns and I believe they helped in getting all the trash picked up today/early. So credit to them for that. In the end, I’d think twice before calling the city unless you want your tree removed and if you call for that they won’t do it anyway..unless of course there’s a stop sign involved… good luck to all.

  7. Sounds like you are, unfortunately, going to have a vigorously sprouting 3″ stump for years to come.

  8. The oleander was topped before and actually would never have recovered from that major injury, the proper thing the city could have done was remove it , grind the stump and replant a new tree. FYI a tree that has been topped will never regain its original structural integrity and also will begain to rot from the top down once carpenter bees or cutter worms make there nest on the top. Mr john gee

  9. City workers are a lot like the honey badger.

  10. Oleanders have never struck me as a good street tree. They want to be bushes.

    I’m guessing some previous homeowner planted these.

  11. That 3″ stump will sprout anew. It’s called coppicing.
    Oleanders are shrubs not trees.
    Most people have no idea how severely trees and shrubs can or should be pruned.

  12. Trim them yourself

  13. I agree with big man. Never expect someone who doesn’t have any incentive to do it right. If you care about the way it looks, you have to get out and do it yourself. Otherwise you will get the “goon with a chainsaw treatment”

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