City and Atlas Plan on Chopping Down Saratoga Torrey Pine Friday, Aug.12th

by on August 11, 2016 · 12 comments

in Culture, Environment, Health

OB Torrey protest ed goodtree dist

Look at the size of this Torrey Pine, “Esperanza” – the last very large Torrey and the last one on the north side of that block of Saratoga.

The City of San Diego and Atlas Tree Service are planning on chopping down the Torrey Pine – “Esperanza” – on Saratoga Friday morning, August 12th.

A representative from the City informed John Ambert, head of the OB Planning Board today, Thursday, of the plans for Friday.

OB Torrey protest ed circleThe City believes it has the proper documentation that proves the tree is unstable and is dangerous. This despite the fact that the residents who have halted the cutting so far are moving on hiring an independent arborist and Torrey Pine specialist. In fact, a GoFundMe has been set up to help finance a 3rd party evaluation. (We don’t have the correct online address.)

OB Torrey protest ed crowdBut all that might be too late, if the City and Atlas cut down the Torrey at issue.

One of the concerns raised by naturalists and biologists is that the Torrey Pine, Esparanza, has one, large active American Crow nest on its northeast side, and an inactive nest on its southern side. A City representative, Sergio Arias, supposedly went out to the Torrey to look for nests and did not find one. We understand that the active nest is the size of a lawn chair.

The call is going out – please come down to the middle of the 4600 block of Saratoga Friday morning starting at 7 a.m. and stand with your fellow OBceans and supporters to protect this Torrey Pine.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Judy Too August 11, 2016 at 1:21 pm

I plan to be there at (gasp!) 6:30 am.


Whys Cracker August 11, 2016 at 1:35 pm

Sergio Arias should eat crow if a nest is found.


Retired Botanist August 11, 2016 at 1:49 pm

Its absolutely unreasonable to charge forth tomorrow morning.
For those attending the proposed funeral, in order to offset any cries of “unsafe for the public”, I’d suggest wearing something orange/bright, and a hardhat if you have one. Signs stating RAILROADED DEMISE might be helpful. And now is when legal representation would be really useful…
Where is the alternatives analysis? Cost/benefit analysis? Where is the nesting bird survey report? For a species as rare as the Torrey Pine, I’m shocked at the lack of adequate environmental review.


OB JOHN August 11, 2016 at 2:02 pm

Has there been a recent documented change in the condition of this tree that has been articulated? Or is this simply a reaction by the City to an unrelated random incident? If so, a cool off period should prevail now to gather more information. This looks like a rash decision on the part of politicians Falconer and Zapf and Wear who obviously want to chop down Esperanza. The only “expert” testimony about this tree has come from a tree service who profits from felling this majestic Torrey Pine.

Heads should roll, not logs over this!


Ian August 11, 2016 at 3:45 pm

I seems fair to ask for analysis from a third party arborist, especially if you are going to pay for it.

But I think that it is also good to look at the situation from all perspectives (not just your own). Think about it from the city government’s perspective. There is this giant tree, on their property, and an expert has said that it is dangerous, and in danger of falling over. If the city doesn’t act and remove the tree before it falls into someones house, or cars, or neighborhood kids walking down the street to the park, imagine the legal trouble they would be in. Not removing the tree could cost the taxpayers millions of dollars in legal fees.

Just some food for thought.

With that being said, has the “OB Saratoga Tree Society” looked into how the city maintains the current trees? I can tell that they have been trimmed in the past. When was it last done? How often should it be done? Will it extend the life of the trees, and lower the risk of them falling if there is another extreme wind event?

I am sure you guys have considered these questions, but after the eventual removal of “Esperanza”, you may want to focus some effort on ways to make sure the other, more healthy trees, don’t suffer the same fate.


virginiamae August 11, 2016 at 4:26 pm

Regarding the nest: I was there yesterday and pointed it out to Mr. Arias. He was able to see it immediately, and then used the binoculars I offered to take a closer look. His opinion was that it was inactive. How can a person judge that from some 50 feet below, and at least 100 feet down the sidewalk? Then, as we approached the tree, I showed him the bird droppings scattered under the nest area only (not under the rest of the tree canopy). A pair of crows flew over the tree just then!

I simply do not understand the rush to cut down this tree! Mr. Arias assessed the tree risk as “low”. The Atlas arborist, Mr. Mantanga (spelling?) at first concluded that the risk factor was “high”. However, he did a reassessment after a compromised limb was removed. He lowered the risk factor to “moderate” and recommended inspecting the tree every 12 months.

Again, what is the rush?


Frank Gormlie August 11, 2016 at 4:34 pm

The time for talk and reports are over. The city is planning on removing this huge tree. Period. And the only thing standing in its way are the people of Ocean Beach.


Frank Gormlie August 11, 2016 at 4:36 pm

The residents of OB will be challenged tomorrow, Friday, Aug. 12th. Is there enough soul still left in the village to tell the City what the community wants? We’ll see. Atlas will there at 7am.


editordude August 11, 2016 at 4:44 pm

Since this was published, the City has released their own Press Announcement, and has confirmed they will be removing the tree Friday morning.


Old Hippie August 11, 2016 at 4:46 pm

Brothers and sisters of OB: This cannot stand. The torrey pine must stand.


Retired Botanist August 11, 2016 at 7:02 pm

Hostility Alert: I went by to measure the girth of the tree this evening for a sign I made for tomorrow and was called unspeakable names by the resident for “ruining lives”…it was really offensive, and there were several people around who witnessed it. So bring your CALM tomorrow, folks. But bring it!


scotty August 15, 2016 at 12:51 pm

Conflict is when you see a persons true character. Sorry you had to go through that.


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