City Council to review controversial Pardee Park tree plan | January 7, 2011 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - January 7, 2011

City Council to review controversial Pardee Park tree plan

City would complete removal of 10 eucalyptus, continue monitoring of six others

by Sue Dremann

Six century-old eucalyptus trees at Palo Alto's Eleanor Pardee Park that several residents and an arborist have deemed hazardous would stay standing — for now — under a plan that will be reviewed by the City Council Monday night.

This story contains 626 words.

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Staff Writer Sue Dremann can be e-mailed at


Posted by Safety-Comes-First, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 10, 2011 at 10:21 am

Only in Palo Alto, can removing trees that are deemed unsafe be considered as controversial. How embarrassing.

Posted by Too much traffic, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 10, 2011 at 10:34 am

It is plain and simple--as part of the "green" agenda in Palo Alto, trees are considered more important than people.

Posted by Visitor, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 10, 2011 at 10:47 am

I visited Pardee Park over the weekend; I was amazed to see it looked more scruffy than any park in South Palo Alto. Pardee Park really needs a good makeover. Remove those old eucalyptus trees and get some new plantings in there.

However, since this is North Palo Alto and they like to live in a slowly decaying environment, keep the trees.

Posted by Donna, a resident of Community Center
on Jan 10, 2011 at 11:36 am

Since my two-year old son was called right before a huge limb fell in the very spot he'd been playing two minutes before, I am really concerned any time I see a eucalyptus tree anywhere near where people go. The other big culprit is the Monterrey Pine tree, which dropped a limb where my friend's son had been only moments before. In talking with a professor of botany, he said that in his opinion both the eucalyptus and the Monterrey pine are health and safety hazards and it should be against code to plant either one in any urban areas......and if they have been planted, they should be removed. Will it take a lawsuit after someone is injured or killed to get Palo Alto to act responsibly?????

Posted by Peter, a resident of Palo Alto Orchards
on Jan 10, 2011 at 1:31 pm

People need to take personal responsibility.
No one is forcing anyone to walk under these trees.
Have some respect for some of the oldest and tallest trees in the city.
I love to sit under trees, everytime I need to make a judgement of safe or not. Not wait for the nanny state to make me safe.
Give me a break.

As to you that thinks the trees are scruffy - huh????
Trees are trees dude - if you don't like the trees in that park don't go to that park. No need to enforce you sense of "order".

Posted by David, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 10, 2011 at 6:22 pm

CSD Department Head, Greg Betts, knows some of the details of the tree report, but he is not an expert. Once he makes a decission, he will stick to it regardless of the 'experts' and their letters. He is relying on his $4,400 investment with a consultant, and he is going with that story line regardless of the risk for park users and neighbors. If a tree or significant limb falls and injures/kills someone, then it will be Mr Betts who will answer' or held responsible. Mr Betts, do you have a golden parachute, or will that be crushed by a falling multi ton eucalyptus tree?

Posted by Wil, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Jan 10, 2011 at 6:30 pm

Ironic that the report states that all these trees are risky for the city to keep due to disease and poor trimming, but yet City Council is being told by management/Betts that the city will keep some of these multi ton 'risk trees' regardless. Is there enough money in reserve to cover a eucalyptus tree if it hits a school bus full of kids? The city is self insured for $1-million dollars per claim; higher claims are covered by a city insurance policy. School buses hold around 40 kids... Risk, liability, city full of lawyers, a few thousand to remove and plant new trees, and you do the math.

Posted by A Noun Ea Mus, a resident of Professorville
on Jan 10, 2011 at 7:33 pm

We can make the park safe. We just need to have the "Drop Bear" story told to the kids in their classrooms. This story, from Australia, is about how large and vicious Koala Bears drop out of trees and devour small children.

Web Link

"Eucalypts have a habit of dropping entire branches off as they grow. Eucalyptus forests are littered with dead branches. For this reason, one never sets up camp under an overhanging branch. This may be the real reason behind the drop bear story told to children - the idea is to keep them away from under dangerous branches."

A while back I was walking my dog there and saw a sign posted "Save Our Trees". I thought a better sign would have been...

Save Our Craniums.

Posted by Trees kill, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jan 10, 2011 at 7:47 pm

As others have pointed out the city will not use common sense and have these dangerous trees removed, despite the narrow escape last year
The council will be afraid to go against the "trees are more important than people" lobby in the city. Our new council continues in the footsteps of previous councils-afraid to take a stand that is beneficial to the public for fear of upsetting a vocal minority.

Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 11, 2011 at 9:38 am

Is it really necessary to contract with a consultant for $4,400 annually about the trees in this park? I don't view the trees as that big a deal, make a decision and go with it, remove them or not, but contracting like this is what I question as a PA taxpayer.

Posted by Enoch Choi, MD, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 11, 2011 at 12:01 pm

8:1 the trees will come down, and not crush any of our kids

Posted by George Carpenter, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 11, 2011 at 9:08 pm

It surprises me a little to be told that the eucalyptus trees are 6 centuries old. That is back before Columbus arrived in the new world. One wonders who brought those trees here from Australia

Posted by Anon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 12, 2011 at 2:33 pm

I live two minutes walk to Eleanor Park ... once you get over the change, it looks better, and it gives a lot more space. Get rid of these trees, they are non-native, ugly and dangerous.

People just do not take to change very well, and no one likes to see trees go down, but this would be an improvement on multiple-dimensions.

Posted by Anon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 12, 2011 at 2:34 pm

6 trees .... not 6 hundred years old ;-)