Here’s Arborist Report that Concludes OB Torrey Pine is “Low Risk”

by on August 19, 2016 · 20 comments

in Culture, Environment, Health, History, Ocean Beach

OB Torrey B Brown photo 2

Here below is the arborist’s report on the Saratoga Avenue Torrey Pine. This is a significant report, as not only was it paid for by members of the Ocean Beach community, but the risk assessment performed by Mastor Arborist Bradley Brown, cites the tree at issue as “low risk”.

The report includes 3 pages of text and 2 pages that have the standard matrix that arborists use.

OB Torrey B Brown rep p1OB Torrey B Brown rep p2OB Torrey B Brown rep p3OB Torrey b brown matx p1OB Torrey B brown matx p2

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

OB Surfer August 19, 2016 at 3:44 pm

Bottomline to all of this:
No one accepts responsibility for the deaths, injuries or destruction from this tree except the city. If the city finds the tree dangerous, the city is unwilling to accept responsibility or accountability. If the arborist and the individuals requesting the tree stay are willing to put a few million dollars into escrow and agree in a written contract to pay for all damages and future care of the tree, that is when they can make the decision to stay or go. Actually, the decision is more like who lives or dies.

What conspiracy theory is there that I’m missing? If they just wanted the tree down, so they don’t have to take care of it, they would be cutting down every tree in the city. The city would be taking out the other four on the street too.


Marc Snelling August 20, 2016 at 9:59 am

Municipalities and private owners are rarely responsible for fallen limbs causing damage. In order for someone to prove liability there has to be provable negligence. The community report and this story showing low risk are evidence to the contrary.


OB Surfer August 21, 2016 at 9:01 am

Marc –

It s beyond easy to prove negligence in this case.
– The city has multiple arborist reports deeming the tree unsafe, and the city has repeatedly agreed with those reports.
– The city admits that they have been negligent in properly trimming the trees.
– The city has repeatedly and very publicly on the media and in writing announced they believe the tree is dangerous.

The city knows they are responsible for any damages or deaths now. A few stories (opinions) in an alternative rag and an unsolicited report addressed to one person, Kevyn Lattau, will not be able to stand-up in court even with a half-competent attorney .

This is all pointless.The tree is being removed. Deal with it by accepting that homes and lives will be saved.


Marc Snelling August 21, 2016 at 12:16 pm

The City reports conflict with each other let alone the community report. The history of reports show the tree is being examined regularly. How does that translate to proving liability beyond a reasonable doubt?


OB Longboarder August 20, 2016 at 3:29 pm

How about we make a bet OB Surfer:

I bet you that a tree on City property will fall without human help in San Diego within the next year and it won’t be this Torrey on Saratoga. It may even cause a lot of damage…



OB Longboarder August 21, 2016 at 1:28 pm

OB Surfer–didn’t think so. You tell others to put “their money where your mouth is” but when its you — nope. Hypocrite.


OB Surfer August 22, 2016 at 12:30 am

OB Longboarder

Honestly, your bet is confusing. What does any other tree have to do with this one? You certainly do not understand the meaning of false equivalency.

Besides, I don’t have to put any money anywhere because I am NOT trying to save any tree at the expense of other people’s property or lives. John Ambert, Kevyn Laatau and their protestors are the ones trying to save this tree.

If I was trying to save a tree, I would be more than happy to put up money.

Who cares anymore. The thing is coming down, most-likey Monday or Tuesday. Deal with it and celebrate the tree’s gifts and be joyful that the tree didn’t hurt anyone.


Ob longboarder August 22, 2016 at 7:44 am

OB Surfer, have a look at forest through the trees:

When it comes to City tree removal logic would dictate trees would be ranked in order of risk. The challenge is removing most dangerous first and so on. Obviously this is not the way it works at SD City Hall. So, if a random tree say a non-native, Eucalyptus falls on someone, isn’t the City negligent now there since City job is now to protect the public from possible falling trees- especially if the tree was later determined to be an obvious high risk?

Saved lives? GMAB Thats politician type noise.


OB Surfer August 22, 2016 at 3:30 pm

Holy crap! Wow.
I never saw it that way.
You are so beyond correct, informed and intelligent.
Thanks for showing me the light.


OB Longboarder August 22, 2016 at 3:43 pm

Sounds like you are enjoying your champagne celebration over removing tbis Torrey Pine a bit too much. Congratulations knucklehead way to help divide our community!


OB Surfer August 23, 2016 at 8:00 am

Longboarder –
It is very hurtful that you could be so rude and uncaring to say that I would celebrate the lose of that amazing pine. I loved that tree. It was repeatedly part of my daily life and interactions with the neighborhood. I stood in tears watching its removal, but believed that our friend had to be lost.

You stoop to name calling and abusinve language. That is the way a true OBcean treats someone?

Someone disagrees with your point of view and is the villain destroying the unity of OB. The entire community doesn’t agree with Longboarder. That is not my doing.

I said you convinced me. You couldn’t take “yes” for an answer. You continue to attack.

Who is really divisive here?


Ob longboarder August 23, 2016 at 8:24 am

OB Surfer, Honestly I thought your post was sarcastic. I thought you were ridiculing me after basically telling me ‘eat it’ –“tree coming down Monday or Tuesday”. while I thought we were in a process of potentially saving Esperanza. Yesterday many of us were completely surprised and outraged when ‘ community due process’ had shut down and the great Torrey was felled.

My apologies.


OB Surfer August 23, 2016 at 12:32 pm

Actually, I was being sarcastic. And I just wanted to end this conversation. Neither of us is ever going to agree about the tree staying or going.

We are going to agree the city needs to do a better job at understanding the community and understanding the proper way to be transparent concerning any of our issues in Ocean Beach. Let’s agree on that and hopefully work together on the next issue. .

OB Longboarder August 24, 2016 at 8:15 am

OB Surfer

“actually i was being sarcastic. And I just wanted to end this conversation”

Thats what it feel like when you lost your argument.

“Who is being divisive here?”

Ahhhh more sarcasm…

OB Surfer August 19, 2016 at 3:59 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


virginiamae August 19, 2016 at 8:34 pm

This tree’s RISK factor has been DECREASING and its overall health and condition improving over the last several months. We now have access to four of the worksheets arborists use to record their field notes and observations and calculate a risk factor. Here is a timeline based on the documents available.

03/02/16 – examination by Ron Matanga of Atlas – no risk assessment form
03/11/16 – narrative evaluation in letter form by Ron Matanga of Atlas – overall risk HIGH
03/30/16 – risk assessment form by Sergio Arias, City of San Diego – overall risk LOW
04/14/16 – risk assessment form by Ron Matanga of Atlas- overall risk HIGH (this may be his original observations of March 2nd written into the standard evaluation form: the conclusion is the same)
May 2016 – limb removal and corrective pruning done
06/13/16- risk assessment form by Ron Matanga of Atlas – overall risk MODERATE (in his words “unexpectedly lowered” from High)
08/15/16 – risk assessment form and narrative explanation by Bradley Brown of Tree Life – overall risk LOW

Do you see the trend? These reports are not meant to be sorted into piles and seen as opinions or votes cancelling each other out. They are periodic checkups on the health of a living being. The tree is currently presenting a LOW Risk. Please note that this is as good as it gets: these is no risk factor VERY LOW or NONE.

There are no guarantees in life either. Sometimes bad things happen where no one is to blame. Not long ago, these were known as “Acts of God”. Actually, your insurance company probably still believes in them, and will not be held accountable when they occur. Our government should not be expected to protect us from all risk, either.

We, as adults, should use our own common sense. Live your life, take a risk if the reward is worthwhile, and take responsibility for the consequences either way. Personally, I would enjoy living among large trees. They provide many benefits. If “the storm of the century” occurred, and I felt I was in danger, I would evacuate temporarily. That’s what people do: it’s common sense.


JnOB August 19, 2016 at 11:28 pm

Oh! The tree is getting healthier.

So barely a week ago we received a report (from our independently hired arborist.)

He said:
– There is no way to save the tree.
– The tree is unhealthy and unbalanced.
– There is no reasonable way to keep the tree standing.
– If an advanced health test was done to see how much water the tree could suck up, the tree would most-likely fall even before the test was finished.

None of us wanted to hear that answer. We only got the report verbally because we didn’t like what we heard. And that arborist didn’t want his name attached to the issue. We should probably ask him to go on record. I know the city and reporters have been trying to speak with him.

We sent a press release acknowledging that we agreed with the city based on that information.

But within a week the tree has magically become the picture of health.

Yes – Risk if the rewards are worthwhile. It is easy to tell people that when we are not risking anything. Those people who live on the block should not be forced to risk their homes, families and lives. We have no right to tell them our reward is worth their risk.


Charlie August 21, 2016 at 9:14 am

This whole thing is an excellent example of confirmation bias.


Theron Winsby August 3, 2018 at 10:17 am

Take a chance, read the data, save a tree, do your part, maintain the trees, educate yourself on why a tree may be a hazard. Plant a good tree and train it to be safe. Lets focus on the other trees now and PREVENT ALL OF THIS NONSENCE.

Prevention is the key. Why do we always wait until there is a problem? Let us be proactive and use what we have learned -to make some educated decisions that will benefit the future of our urban forest.


Frank Gormlie August 3, 2018 at 10:48 am

Theron – great to hear from you! Hope you and your family are well. You were instrumental in during heads and minds around back a few years ago when we saved the Torrey Pine on Long Branch. Now, it’s threatened again and there’s a meeting of the forestry panel on August 8 (details later). Thanks for checking in – and anytime you wish to write something more lengthy, let us know.


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