Silver Lake oak trees get hacked*

Photo by Andrew Sears

There is not much left of a small cluster of gnarled Coast Live Oaks* that clung to a steep Silver Lake hill above the corner of Glendale Boulevard and Bancroft Avenue.   Diane Edwardson of the Corralitas Red Car Property blog reports crews started cutting away at the trees on Wednesday, leaving behind stumps and a mangled looking tree. “The Coast Live Oak [pictured] has been holding up the slope above Glendale Blvd for decades,” said Edwardson in a blog post. “I think I’ve even seen it in photos from the 1930s.”

Coast Live Oak trees are protected under city ordinance, and property owners need permission before cutting them down.  Edwardson said she is checking with the city to see if the necessary tree removal permits were granted.   Click here for more details and photos.

* Update: The trees might have been Cork Oak instead of Coast Live Oak trees. Corralitas Red Car Property


  1. Please keep us updated. This is sickening.

  2. Disgusting! WTF!

  3. Please everyone: Contact Garcetti’s office and complain: 213-473-7013, or fill out the form at http://cd13.com/contact-us

    The City does nothing to enforce its existing laws or permit processes, and Garcetti does not seem to care.

  4. That’s nothing compared with the 400 trees cut down to make way for the shuttle. Sorry I just think we are losing our minds (and our earth).

    • Cutting down native oak trees that are hundreds of years old is a little different than cutting down 40 year old ficus trees in my book.

      • The Oak Trees are protected .
        Ficus trees are replaceable and will be replaced.
        READ ON:
        The California Science Center has agreed to replant four trees for every one felled along the Space Shuttle Endeavor route next month, just one in a long list of concessions won by the Empowerment Congress West Area Neighborhood Development Council and its president Lark Galloway Gilliam.
        Along the route that runs through Inglewood, up Crenshaw then east on King Blvd. to Expo Park, 760 trees will be planted, according to KPCC reporter Corey Moore.

  5. Cutting trees is a crime against nature!

  6. Lisa, thanks for the link.

    Eastsider please keep us informed as to whether or not this was approved by the city or just business as usual. i would like to complain, but would like to know the facts first.

  7. How can the person who wielded the chain saw sleep at night? They must not have any sort of conscience, just too busy counting their money.

  8. Even if there is no permit, it’s not like anything happens to these developers or property owners. They get a fine equivalent to a slap on the wrist. Terrible.

    • Too true. LA makes it worthwhile for developers to just do whatever they want first, then deal with the (very minor) consequences later. Hard to tell if it’s incompetence or corruption (or both).

  9. silverlake resident

    This is truly disgusting. Why are they just handing Los Angeles away to developers?

  10. I know that in Glendale, La Crescenta, and La Canada, people take the oak tree ordinance more seriously. There have been a few well-publicized cases of homeowners hiring unlicensed tree trimmers – or a licensed trimmer from out of the area – who pruned an oak tree too severely, and the city hit the homeowner with a hefty fine. If this Glendale Blvd. property owner didn’t pull the proper permits, I think we should push to make sure the city goes after him or her. I’ll call Garcetti’s office as well.

  11. from Diane Edwardson’s blog:

    *UPDATE 10-5-12: Ron Lorenzen, Assistant Chief Forester, Bureau of Street Services, Urban Forestry Division, reports they will investigate.

  12. joannna elizabeth

    When you find out who is responsible, I’d like to see a posting with their photo and name… so even if their fine is a slap on the wrist, at least they’ll have this come up forever in Google searches.

  13. joannna elizabeth

    Just filled out the form – it just took a minute. Thanks for posting that link!

  14. This hill has been collapsing after every heavy rain. Ask the folks who don’t know and park there and find their cars smashed by falling rock. In my view, the (presumably) owner/developer has incurred not only a violation for cutting Live Oaks, but has set up liability for any hill erosion resulting from this.

    These days, developers start by slashing every living thing from a site. Then there’s no need to try to design a house or other project that might integrate with the natural landscape. Horror! Possible lost square footage! And frankly, you can’t blame them. We have a civic culture that values nothing more than maximum buildout, from City Hall on down. Until that changes (and thankfully there are at least some people that do care) on a structural level, this will continue.

    • Back in the 1920s the city cut this slope to widen the street. The owner doesn’t really become responsible until they develop the property then the city makes them deal with the slope, usually with an ugly retaining wall.

  15. Its too bad they got cut down.
    Don’t let one poor decision follow another.
    Can I pick up some of that lumbar?
    I promise to make good things out of it, i won’t turn it into toothpicks or firewood.

    • I just passed by about an hour ago, and it looks as if someone beat you to it. There was a guy parked on Glendale Blvd. who was loading up his truck with logs.

  16. Has anyone seen that lot that was cleared nearby on Hidalgo about 8 or so months ago? They did the same thing, just clear cut the whole lot taking down several old growth eucalyptus trees in the process. I have no idea why someone building a house would want to take out huge trees on their property, you can never replace that kind of thing, and that is what made that piece of land so nice in the first place. Not to mention making a hillside lot that less stable, retaining walls can only do so much.

  17. I feel the biggest adversary a protected tree has is the city of Los Angeles. Remember what happened with the Semi-Tropic Spiritualists’ Tract.

  18. whoever is guilty will be eviscerated by the branches of a mighty oak!

  19. My girlfriend sent emails to Garcetti’s office (with no response) and Urban Forestry (with no response). Let’s do what we can to get these people respond to our complaints and then punish the property owner.

  20. Old growth supports a fragile circle of life.

    The only way we will protect old growth is to incorporate protective and restrictive language in land use,water management wildlife and plant ordinances into community plans. The voice of community must matter.

    We love our trees in situ and as is.
    4 to 1 replacements do not address the depth of loss or the scar on soul.

  21. I called Urban Forestry Friday- the lady who answered the phone quickly responded there were no live oak trees on Glendale Blvd and they had been out there and those were brush oak. She didn’t even check the address- and quickly hung up the phone. I was advised by someone at the City to call Service Request @ 1-800-996-2489 and the operators can communicate with the Urban Forestry Emergency Truck. Property Owner can be fined up to $10k per tree. At least three of those beautiful trees (24″ min. diam. trunks) were removed- and those were NOT brush oak. I miss them already. Most of the trunks are still laying along side Glendale Blvd. It is very very sad.

    Wrote to Eric Garcetti’s office too, but I guess if removing trees created work for two workers (who were drinking beer in the truck during a break from cutting the trees- yes, a twelve pack) and benefited developers financially, then it’s ok to look the other way, right?

  22. Owner is Panorama on Silverlake LLC
    Address is 10604 Lindamere Drive, LA,CA 90077
    The individual appears to be Avigail Shaoulian
    All info from Zimas and Ca Sec of State

  23. That address is in the hills of Bel Air where trees are ample and the wild canyons are full of beautiful oaks. I say artists like myself create an add on poster when the new construction is up for sale stating “You too could be home …if you were an OAK!”

  24. This is unreal. Forget the stupid comparisons to the trees cleared for the Shuttle. A 4-1 replacement of fiscus and additional local landscaping is a good deal.

    This oak is probably 90-120 years old and serves as a natural way in which to protect the downhill areas of this location. It is a crime to cut them down or even cut them back this far. Both literally a crime and ethically a crime.

    I’d bet the person who did it had no idea that there were permits required but ignorance is not an excuse. The property owner and the sub-contractor should both be heavily fined.

  25. I just received an email from Ryan Carpio at Garcetti’s office stating the following:

    “We share your concern about the removal of these trees and have had them investigated. The City’s Urban Forestry department inspected the location and reported the following to our office:

    “This location has been inspected by 2 different certified arborists. The Oak tree that was being removed was a Cork Oak & is not protected. … The Protected Tree code states in section 46.01 (a) ‘Oak tree including Valley Oak (Quercus lobata) and California Live Oak (Quercus agrifolia), or any other tree of the oak genus indigenous to California but excluding the Scrub Oak (Quercus dumosa)’ are under the purview of this law.
    Cork Oak (Quercus suber) is not indigenous to California.”

    In short, because the tree is not covered by the ordinance, a property owner can remove the tree without a permit.

    Thank you for your message.

    All my best,

    Ryan R. Carpio, Field Deputy
    Office of Councilmember Eric Garcetti
    Los Angeles City Council District 13
    5500 Hollywood Blvd. 4th Floor
    Los Angeles, CA 90028
    Office: (323) 957-4500
    Fax: (323) 957-6841

    [end quoted text]

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