Ocean Beach Residents Push Back Against City Plan to Chop Down Torrey Pine – Over a Dozen OBceans Gather Monday Morning

by on August 8, 2016 · 6 comments

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

OB Torrey protest 8-4-16 circle best

This photo was taken Thursday morning, Aug. 4th, as local OB residents encircle Torrey Pine on Saratoga Ave. (photo by Frank Gormlie)

Local Residents Gather at Torrey Pine Monday Morning – So Far, Atlas Is a No-Show

This morning – Monday, August 8th – around 7 a.m. – a dozen local residents of Ocean Beach gathered near a Torrey Pine on the 4600 block of Saratoga Avenue. They were waiting for the Atlas Tree Service trucks and crews to show to carry out the threat of chopping down the huge, sprawling tree – the last one on that side of the block.

An Atlas truck did make a stop around 8 a.m. – scouting the situation. A crew member moved some of the “No Parking” signs around and drove off.

By 9:30 this morning, according to Colleen Dietzel of the Green Center, about 25 people “and lots of dogs” had come by the scene. Around 16 were still there, she said. No mass media have showed, she added.

Locals and experts have also determined that the tree has an active American Crow next – which is protected under the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty and possibly under parallel state statutes. People are being asked to call Atlas at 619-463-1701, and tell them if they cut the Torrey they will be in violation of Federal and state law. Even better, call Atlas supervisor, Brian Coy at 619-9546189.

Also the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been contacted and is investigating. Also, neighbors are being asked to call Councilwoman Zapf’s office and Mayor Faulconer’s office.

Last week there was drama on Saratoga Avenue in Ocean Beach, as local residents scrambled in efforts to save a Torrey Pine on that street from being chopped down by the City’s contractor.

There was a temporary reprieve on Thursday, August 4th, after Atlas Tree Service crew and trucks departed once it was clear that about a dozen OB protesters who had at one pointed surrounded the tree were not budging. The drama had been crystallized when Crystal Rose Speros climbed up into the tree declaring she was occupying it to save it.

Chrystal was the OB hero of the week as we reported – and was an immediate television news sensation.

Here’s Channel 8News; Fox5 news; NBC7News

Since Thursday, locals and supporters have been gathering nearly a hundred signatures to halt the cutting, had a neighborhood meeting on Saturday to map out some kind of strategy – and continued to put the pressure on the City’s politicians – Councilwoman Lorie Zapf and Mayor Kevin Faulconer.

Significantly, the protest has matured as community members have formed The Friends of the Peninsula Trees. Their mission:

“is to engage with the City of San Diego regarding the health, safety, and welfare of Trees in Ocean Beach and Point Loma. … We are requesting immediate action by the City of San Diego to address the concerns of the community.”

Their press statement is also posted in a separate article.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Geoff Page August 8, 2016 at 3:52 pm

I think this is terrific, hats off to everyone taking part in this effort!


Rufus August 8, 2016 at 7:00 pm

On my neighbor’s property is a Torery Pine planted in 1913. It’s a monster! But it has also been maintained in a beautiful, healthy condition by the homeowner over the years.

Instead of simply saying no to cutting down this one problematic tree, why not start a movement to maintain our existing OB Torrey Pines and plant more trees!


John August 8, 2016 at 7:47 pm

Problematic according to whom? A politician, a nearby resident and a tree chopping service.

Catch up Rufus! You are welcome to lead the movement you suggest. Last time I checked this particular OB Torrey is existing (!) and now tops the list to be saved!

Always get a chuckle from those who would direct community activists. As if…


John August 8, 2016 at 7:50 pm

..for those who would direct…


KipofVoltaire August 8, 2016 at 8:49 pm

I planted 8 pine trees on 4800 block of Voltaire. Esperanza (Torrey on Saratoga) needs our protecting now.
I supervised planting of thousands of trees around San Diego. Starting a OB tree planting group is a great idea, Rufus.


Byron Wear August 10, 2016 at 11:08 am

I will be glad to help on the tree planting efforts.
Byron Wear


Leave a Comment

Older Article:

Newer Article: