“It wasn’t easy this time out,” said Claudia Jack of the Ocean Beach Main Street Association, who has helmed the annual search for a tree for the past 23 years. “We usually have everything taken care of nine months in advance, but a month ago we still didn’t have a tree. We called around and of course, something like what we are looking for costs a lot of money.”
Luckily, the OBMA put up a bulletin and four trees were offered up quickly, even better, they were in the area, saving on shipping costs. For Rogers, it was fortuitous timing.
“During last winter's storms I became concerned that the tree might fall over as it leans,” Rogers said. “I called an arborist for a consult, thinking maybe we could find a way to preserve it and anchor it. However, the arborist was very concerned that the roots of the tree were undermining the foundation of the adjacent apartment, so he said it needed to come down.”
The tree will be cut down, “taken right over the roof of the house and delivered to the foot of Newport Avenue on Nov. 28,” said Jack. She notes it’s no easy task moving something that large. “There will be some maneuvering to do, but there is a base already at the location to slip the tree into, so that makes that part a little easier.”
Decorations will be put up during three days. “We will be putting up 100 ornaments and tons of lights,” Jack said. Meanwhile on Nov. 30, local school kids will get to decorate the bottom half of the tree with their own homemade ornaments. The tree will be up through Jan. 3.
While the situation is a win for everyone, with OB getting a free tree and saving on removal costs, Rogers notes it’s sad to lose such a big tree. “The loss of any tree is hard. We need them to breathe. They give life. I will miss it tremendously. However, it will be a good thing for the nearby apple tree. It was in the shade of the pine and now it will do much better,” she said.
The tree itself was planted in 1997 by previous tenants of the house, CBS News 8 photojournalist Charles Landon and his wife, Sheila Ferris.
“It started out as a four-foot-tall live Christmas tree that we planted following that year’s holiday,” he said. “We are so pleased that it’s going to be repurposed once more for the same use.”
Landon plans to shoot a story on the day. “We will be following the tree’s journey and showing it on air. Our family are still OB residents, and this tree was planted before our children were born,” Landon said. “We’re excited about the whole thing.”
“This has worked out wonderfully for everyone,” Jack commented. “I’m amazed that we were able to get everything done in such a short amount of time.”
For her part, Rogers is proud to be able to donate the tree and in the spirit of Christmas, give back to her community. “In the literal sense, it's the biggest gift we have ever given,” she laughed.