The New Zealand Christmas trees on Colorado Avenue are safe, for the time being, from being removed by the City due to the actions of Treesavers. But this time around, the City’s decision to keep the trees in place was not the result of Treesavers demonstrating, circulating petitions, or holding a group meeting with the officials involved.As Treesavers’ Jerry Rubin tells it: “We heard a few weeks ago that the City was planning to get rid of a good number of very beautiful New Zealand Christmas trees. And naturally, Treesavers was very concerned about this. We began finding out more of the details. I spoke with City forester Walt Warriner, and found out that it was part of a Blue Bus project.”Six trees between 6th and 7th Streets on the south side of Colorado had been red-tagged for removal due to the building of the new Big Blue Bus facility on Colorado. Rubin said that he had heard a rumor that more trees on the street were due for the same fate.Rubin also contacted Walt Warriner’s boss, Joan Akins, the director of the Community Maintenance Department, and Stephanie Negrif, director of the Big Blue Bus. Negrif told Rubin that Blue Bus was not going to do anything before meeting with Treesavers. Akins was working on setting up a meeting with all the parties involved. But when Rubin contacted Akins on February 17, she told him that the City had changed its mind and was not going to remove the trees.As Akins explained to the Mirror, the bus project was being worked on with the City’s engineering division, “but as we heard more and more about the trees, we wanted to be able to leave the trees in place. We talked to the engineering folks and the director of the Big Blue Bus and we all discussed it.” They came to the decision to leave the trees where they were and work them into the project’s landscape.Rubin says that Akins has not yet confirmed with Treesavers that the non-tagged trees on Colorado are safe. He did however, pose the question to City Councilmember Kevin McKeown, who replied by email, “As far as I know, there is no immediate threat to those. We should probably wait on any Colorado [Avenue] changes until we know what will happen with Expo [light rail train], which would require its own set of changes.” “Treesavers is going to stay on top of the situation,” says Rubin. “We can’t be on top of everything, but that’s why it would be good to have a Tree Commission.”
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Our guest columnist this week is Marc L. Verville. He is a native of Santa Monica, now lives in Sunset...Read more