Echo Park tree lovers rally to save urban forest

Dec 17, 2013

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 75 new trees – a combination of Chinese Pistache and 75 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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