Community-Funded Arborist Report: The Ocean Beach Torrey Pine Is “Low Risk”

by on August 17, 2016 · 23 comments

in Culture, Environment, Health, History, Media, Ocean Beach, Organizing, Politics, San Diego

OB Torrey Brown rep foto1

Photo attached to Bradley Brown’s Risk Assessment report.

An arborist report just released to the City by those OBceans who have been attempting to save the Torrey Pine on Saratoga, states :

“The mature Torrey pine in front of 4652 Saratoga Avenue presented low risk at the time of my assessment made on Monday, August 15, 2016.”

The Tree Risk Assessment by Bradley Brown, a Board Certified Master Arborist, was sent to members of the City by John Ambert, chair of the OB Planning Board. It included pages of matrices that arborists use, plus a 2-page written report, with photos.

The Ocean Beach community funded Arborist Brown’s services, and specifically, he was hired by the residents and supporters on Saratoga, via a GoFundMe page put up by the group Friends of the Peninsula Trees.

Brown also stated in his report:

“I observed no significant defects or secondary disorders in the subject tree. … The trunk base showed no signs of significant mechanical damage or discoloration. … The tree appeared healthy and vigorous.”

No mincing words, Brown said:

“Limb, trunk, or complete failure are improbable within the next year; it could occur but is unlikely under normal weather conditions, and it may not occur in many severe weather conditions within the specified time period.” (His emphasis.)

He ended his report by adding:

“Trees that present low risk generally do not require immediate attention and are generally considered low priority.”

His risk assessment is valid, he said, for one year.

The report of “low risk” assessment for the tree named “Hope” is definitely a boost for those residents, neighbors, scientists, and environmentalist who mobilized to save the Torrey. These folks have been pressuring the City to delay the tree’s removal until adequate and independent assessments had made of the tree’s condition, which the City has been alleging is unhealthy and unstable.

Meanwhile, the stand-off continues. The Torrey pine called “Esperanza” is still standing – nearly 2 weeks after the City and Atlas Trees showed up to chop it down into toothpicks and trophy honors.

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Ob John August 17, 2016 at 6:37 pm

If this were any other species, the tree would be down and no one would have cared really. But, it is a Torrey Pine tree, a true native. Doesn’t matter how it got there almost a century ago, it exists where it does. Thank goodness some good folks got in the way of the chain saws before it was too late.

Obviously there is a difference of opinion on this tree’s future. Since it’s a Torrey Pine, the rarest of pine trees and a native species the jury is in…. the tree stands!

Thank you to all who particupated in this important citizen action to preserve our heritage trees in Ocean Beach.

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OB Joe OB Joe August 17, 2016 at 7:38 pm

Ditto OB John; you are so right.

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OB Joe OB Joe August 17, 2016 at 7:38 pm

I think the OB Rag is the only media source that is publishing the views of local residents with regards to the Torrey Pine on Saratoga Ave. All the TV news swooped in the other day to report that ‘it’s all over,’, and from what I’ve seen, or not seen, is the lack of TV news discussing a change – that people don’t want the tree to come down.

I’m calling you out – Channel 8, Charles Landon; you too Fox 5 ‘s Jake; all the other handsome reporters to show up and give stirring news reports about how the neighborhood has given up, and there’s been no follow up since by any of the stations.

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Old Hippie August 17, 2016 at 7:52 pm

OB has to make sure that San Diego media are aware of the changes on the ground re this tree.

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molly Molly August 17, 2016 at 7:59 pm

You are an old man, but correct you are here. Someone asked recently, where are all the millenniums, all those nature-loving youth?

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OB Joe OB Joe August 17, 2016 at 8:02 pm

Molly, you should know that young people have been part of this campaign from the start. Recall that Crystal Rose climbed up into the tree; she’s 19.

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Old Hippie August 17, 2016 at 7:53 pm

Some day it will come out OB Joe that you are nothing but a sycophant for the OB Rag.

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OB Joe OB Joe August 17, 2016 at 7:55 pm

Whaaaat? Are you accusing me of being a surrogate for the Rag? Hey, if politicians can have them, why can’t media sources?

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Old Hippie August 17, 2016 at 7:49 pm

Okay, gang, what’s the next step? Much of the community has been watching this drama play out in the pages of the Rag, so even though we don’t show up for shifts or meetings,we’re involved. So I ask those who have spearheaded the guardianship of the Torrey Pines, what is OUR next move?

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Ob John August 17, 2016 at 8:26 pm

Why a naked pagan dance & full moon drum circle around Esperanza complete with fire breathers, musical instruments and libations! Need you ask?

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Old Hippie August 17, 2016 at 7:51 pm

I forgot to add, this is great news, people! See, the City is not always right. Just because the City says its XYZ, doesn’t make it so.

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molly Molly August 17, 2016 at 7:57 pm

This is quite the story, and no one (sorry, I mean no one but the OBRag) has picked it up. The community funds its own specialist, who then counters the city’s narrative. The battle of the reports. Where are the city’s reports? why hasn’t anyone dicphered them for us peons, down at the grassroots.

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molly Molly August 17, 2016 at 8:01 pm

I have a funny feeling that a lot of these comments are from OB Rag staffers, Joe, Old hippie, etc.

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Tyler Brand August 18, 2016 at 6:00 am

You all realize this is just one opinion, and could be construed to have an agenda no more than the arborist a for the city?

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cc August 18, 2016 at 10:39 am

don’t be so reasonable that doesn’t fit the narrative here

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Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie August 18, 2016 at 10:54 am

cc – why is it “reasonable” to follow the city’s narrative and agenda? Please explain. And don’t forget that the city’s contractor, Atlas, cut down the wrong tree over on Voltaire a few months ago. And don’t forget that 2 of the 3 reports the city relied upon came from Atlas.

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Alice D Millionaire August 18, 2016 at 11:30 am

Every time citizens get together and challenge authority these bootlickers always have the same knee jerk reaction no matter how obviously correct such citizens are. I have seen this over and over, some people just hold authority figures in higher esteem than they do themselves. And they must make ridiculous fools of themselves while doing so.

And then there are the trolls…

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Marc Snelling Marc Snelling August 18, 2016 at 8:42 am

It doesn’t take an arborist to determine the center of gravity of a tree. Obviously that is not an issue with this Torrey Pine. Arborists are looking for disease, decay, co-dominant trunks, root problems, etc. It should be very straight forward for the city to make its case. Hopefully San Diego will never face the kind of problems like we have in the Northeast. Emerald Ash Borer has laid waste to countless Ash trees here. About one third of Ottawa’s urban trees are Ash and they have been cut down in great numbers. Estimates here have placed the value of a mature tree on a lot at $6000.

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Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie August 18, 2016 at 10:29 am

Ugh! Not good news from the NE. Of course as you know very well, these Torrey pines are in a coastal desert. Not those gorgeous forests out there.

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Posey August 18, 2016 at 1:14 pm

I got to witness first hand the concern for our community and this beautiful rare tree at the “Friends of Peninsula Trees” meeting. I’m grateful to all that were there. They even showed concern for neighbors that had been hostile to them. They said they want reconciliation no matter what the outcome. Unless I am mistaken, one nice woman-I wish I remembered her name pointed out that the city’s arborist had given Esperanza a low risk in one report. Atlas Tree Service makes money cutting down trees. Their reports should not even matter-conflict of interest. By the way, OB Rag is grassroots news. I’ll take their word over the sensationalist corporate controlled TV news stations any day. Isn’t it odvious enough that they will say anything for ratings?

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Petey August 18, 2016 at 3:20 pm

Good point, Posey. The Rag’s news is grassroots, local, real with no ulterior motive other than to save our community and help it continue to be the vibrant place it still is.
Wish we had our own local radio station – wouldn’t that be wonderful?!

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Ian August 18, 2016 at 1:45 pm

Where do we read the report?

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OB Surfer August 19, 2016 at 6:56 pm

Ask John Ambert who seems to be leading the group to put up the money to care for the tree and all of its damages and deaths. If they want to keep the tree so badly, put your money where your mouth is. His group that requested this assessment had already gotten one that said the tree was even more dangerous than the city’s assessment. They didn’t pass that information onto the city or anyone else before requesting a forum. Many people were in that room for that discussion

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