Ocean Beach residents upset as city cuts down Torrey pine
by MIKE McCARTHY
Published - 08/23/16 - 10:10 AM | 9954 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A tree removal service cuts down the Torrey pine (right) on Saratoga Avenue in Ocean Beach. / Photo by Mike McCarthy
A tree removal service cuts down the Torrey pine (right) on Saratoga Avenue in Ocean Beach. / Photo by Mike McCarthy
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Emotions ran high with many Ocean Beach residents after learning that one of the oldest Torrey pines in the community was cut down on Monday, Aug. 22. The large tree on the 4600 block of Saratoga was more than 90 years old and known to many as Esperanza.

For several weeks the Torrey pine has been the center of debate between residents of Ocean Beach and the City of San Diego. Many agreed, including the Friends of Peninsula Trees group, that the tree posed a public safety hazard and was not healthy enough to be saved.

Neighbors and members of the community, who were for saving the tree, hired an independent arborist. He stated the Torrey pine in question was a "low-risk" to the community. Many residents agreed and felt that with just a little love, and a good trim job, that the problem would be solved. 

The majority opinion, among the neighbors on Saratoga Avenue and residents of OB, was that proper ongoing maintenance was needed for this one tree, along with several other old Torrey pines that are still standing on this same block.

On Aug. 11, the City of San Diego alerted the Ocean Beach community that the landmark Torrey pine would be removed on Friday, Aug. 12. Local activists quickly joined forces to temporally stop the tree removal by a public protest and sit-in.

Many residents were then shocked on the early morning of Aug. 22 to hear chainsaws cutting down one of their favorite Torrey pines. The police had quickly taped off the block to prevent any interference.

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