Workers cut up the large tree that fell on Monday evening Photo by Don Johnson

T-i-m-b-e-r! Sixty-foot tree takes a header, closes Main Street overnight

October 19, 2001
Santa Paula News
By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula TimesOne of Main Streets beautiful trees took a header Monday evening, blocking the entire two-lane thoroughfare and leaving passersby astonished at the sight of the fallen boxwood.It is unknown what felled the tree at about 8:15 p.m. on Oct. 16, barely missing a motorist who slammed on the brakes when he saw the tree go over and then reported the mishap to the city.The tree stood near the northwest corner of Main and 8th streets, outside the United Water Conservation building. It?s age is unknown but the tree had a trunk ?about 3-feet in diameter,? said Public Works Director-City Engineer Norm Wilkinson. ?It had to be 70 to 80 years old; it was an old one. I would guess I could be way off, it could be older; I don?t get the impression it was any younger.?Santa Paula police officers and firefighters responded to the scene and barriers were placed to let motorists know the street was closed, officially at least.When the tree fell it didn?t damage the sidewalk, its roots breaking off at ground level leading to the suspicion that - although the tree was green and robust - its roots had died.?It looked like it rotted off at the base, which may have been because of irrigation of the lawn,? said Wilkinson. ?The tree may have been a victim of our downtown reconstruction project. It just seemed to pop out, didn?t even lift the sidewalk, just snapped off in the ground just as clean as you can be. It looked perfect, just tipped over.?
The tree fell fully across Main Street, its approximate 60-feet length skimming the parking lot of Cal-West Real Estate on the opposite corner.Wilkinson, who also responded to the scene, said that after Animal Control Officer John Dunn and a public works employee barricaded the area, ?we just left it for the night. . . when I got down there about 7:30 a.m. the next morning all the foliage was already chipped and they were working on the limbs.?The tree had good timing - Wilkinson said the contract tree trimmer was in town - and a good sense of direction when it fell.?It could have fallen onto the United Water Conservation District building or onto the community Christmas tree and taken that out. Things were working for us in that regard.?

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