Save the tree or… else! That’s what one woman on the Peninsula told crews who arrived to cut down an old oak Friday morning.
For the last century, the tree has been growing on the corner of Goodwin and Alameda de Las Pulgas in Redwood City, which is named for the soaring trees that line neighborhood streets. The city says this particular tree is diseased and needs to come down, but Gwen Minor is determined to save the oak – and others.
“I cried when I heard this tree was coming down,” Minor said.
Neighbors told NBC Bay Area the tree is a landmark that lets them know they’re home.
“It’s beauty, longevity – and an understanding that we’re flashes in the pan and things keep going after us,” Minor said.
But the 100-plus-year-old valley oak is sick, according to city arborists, diseased with a root fungus. “It’s not like we are going to lose a forest,” assistant city manager Bill Ekern said. “We just need this tree taken down for safety.”
Ekern said crews were supposed to cut the oak down Friday morning, but stopped when they found a visitor in the branches.
How’d she get up there? Minor said she climbed a ladder.
Why’d she go up there? “These things need special care and they can’t speak for themselves,” she said.
Minor said she wants the city to discuss ways to protect aging trees before it’s too late. “We didn’t get enough time to really unite as a community to try to save this tree,” Minor said. “This tree to me is a symbol for what we need to be planting for future generations.”
So, before crews eventually return with saws, the neighborhood gets to say goodbye to the old oak tree. Neighbor Brooke Wagner even picked up a handful of acorns so her kids will be able to someday enjoy a big oak on the corner.
“It’s a great feeling,” Wagner said, standing in the shadow of the tree. “I love to see all the people coming around.”
Redwood City leaders said the tree is dangerous and will have to come down, but they promise to plant another tree in its place.
As for Minor, she planned to climb down from the tree sometime before sunset Friday.