Monday, October 24, 2016

Echo Park tree lovers rally to save urban forest

The Board of Public Works is scheduled to vote Wednesday on a recommendation to cut down 35 trees along Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park as part of a street and sidewalk improvement project. The trees – which range from giant ficus with two-foot wide trunks to scraggly chitalpas – have been found to have either damaged the sidewalk, are in poor health or were planted without permission. While more than 100 new trees – a combination of Chinese Pistache and Australian Willows – will be planted between Everett Street and Rosemont Avenue, some Echo Park residents are preparing  one last effort to save the existing trees, or at least a favorite tree, from the chopping block.

In a posting on the Echo Elysian Forum,  Echo Park neighborhood council member Tad Yenawine recommended a strategy for those who may want to speak up in favor of the trees at Wednesday’s hearing:

The agenda is pretty clear that this action is recommended, so the board is going to be predisposed to cutting the trees down to reconstruct sidewalks. As this is the case, it will be difficult to protect all the trees, so identifying which trees you would like to protect and which ones you are ok with removing would be prudent. The item also calls for tree replacement, and you may have some ability to have input into what replaces them (I certainly hope it is with other trees at the very least!).

I would suggest that those that feel passionate about protecting the trees make a concerted and organized effort to be there and make a statement. As there are limited public comments, I would take care to not overlap too much.

The hearing regarding the Echo Park trees is one of several items that are scheduled for Wednesday’s Board of Public Works meeting, which is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m.

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  1. If I read the agenda correctly, it should be 38 Pistache and 75 Willows for a total of 113 new trees. Wondering if the agenda is accurate? (http://boe.lacity.org/docs/dpw/agendas/2013/201312/20131218/bss/20131218_ag_br_bss_2.pdf_)

  2. I don’t really see the controvery on removing the ficus. they’re pretty bad for the cityscape and make for terrible walking environments…. I don’t know much about the chitalpa, so not sure why those need to be removed…

    But overall, they are removing 35 and planting 75!!! That’s a total win in the long run for our urban forests…

    • Not sure how big a win. Is it not possible to plant some native trees that would be a food source for native birds and insects?

  3. BOTH trees they replaced on Echo Park Ave. near Sunset have died. Now there is no shade and a lack of greenery for the folks waiting at the bus stop. I don’t understand why the city cuts down these trees and replaces them without proper care and watering. There is NO WAY this would be acceptable in other, more affluent areas of the city! I’m so sick of this! Plant trees and WATER THEM!!! If the city is not going to water them, then PLEASE DON’T CUT DOWN FULL SHADE TREES!!!!!

    • Expect a very dry season.

    • Amen brother.. Echo Park shopping district NEEDS those big fat shady Ficus trees…

    • Echo Park resident

      Please submit this comment to the committee for it to be read at the meeting.

    • Completely agree with this! I was so sad to see those trees on the corner of Echo Park and Sunset go… and there was all this lovely talk of planting replacement trees. Months later, we have neglected, dead trees in their place. If the city is going to invest money in planting trees, why the heck does it ignore them? They require water, and some periodic trimming would help too. At the very least, the city should create some sort of volunteer system to care for them. It’s so dispiriting and disheartening to live in a neighborhood, see beautiful trees removed, and then have to see sad, dead, tiny replacements every single day.

  4. go Katrina !

  5. At least needs to be trimmed is a liability, the foyer is so heavy, one of this date we will have a surprise hopefully no fatalities, but I doubt. These trees are a hazard, needs to be at least to be trimmed, as it use to be years before.

  6. This is just wrong. We live in a screwed up city.

    • At least they’re trying to fix it. They didn’t plant enough trees decades ago, and they planted types that would destroy the sidewalk, but soon we’ll have more trees that will be able to coexist better with an urban environment.

  7. It wouldn’t be so bad if they would replace them with decent sized trees instead of spindly 5ft saplings. As someone has already pointed out, some of the replacement trees at Echo Park and Sunset have already withered and died, so that’s probably what will happen with the rest of them.
    Why not replace half of them this year and the rest of them 5 years from now?

  8. Its amazing people can get so offended about the expensive removal of the wrong tree in the wrobg place while themselves murdering 1000 animals a year to put in their belly. A cow is much more majestic and precious than a sidewalk cracking ficus. Vegans excused

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