Saving the 5 Melaleuca Trees of Redding
It was that time of the month, sometime in September 2012; my Toyota became due for its every 3,000-mile oil change. As I turned off the East Cypress Avenue and into the parking lot to check in with the mechanic, I saw, on a thin wooden stake, a small white piece of paper with words in bold: NOTICE TO PUBLIC.
Well, for some strange reason I decided to pull alongside this poster and read the fine print. It was a notice from the City of Redding and the Planning Department that the frontage street that parallels Cypress Avenue was going to be re-aligned and citizen input would take place at Redding City Hall. After the oil change, I called the Planning Department and spoke to the project manager, Mr. Doug DeMallie.
I particularly asked him about the five melaleuca trees at the West and East end of the frontage street. He stated that the engineers from the City of Redding and Lithia Motors’ plans would likely remove one of the melaleucas at the West end to accommodate the new sidewalk and bicycle lane. He further stated that the two trees at the ast end of the project would not be removed. I noted that, “Redding is a ‘Tree City USA’. Can’t the engineers take another look at the plans, re-align them, and save the three clustered melaleucas?”
I said I would continue talking with him to find a resolve. As well, I had called or emailed all the city council members to plead for the trees' retention when it came before them during public comment.
A week later I called Mr. DeMallie and asked how the project was coming, plans still in progress he said. I said I’d continue to call for an update. Before hanging up, half-jokingly, I said, if necessary, I would round-up 10 local tree-huggers to chain themselves to the Malaluecas in order to bring attention to saving the trees so Redding can continue to be listed as Tree City USA. He called recently and said the engineer would need to remove two trees after all. I called the city manager, he gave me the name of the engineer at OmniMeans. The engineer confirmed two trees would be removed. But, a slight twist came about in that if an organization would pay for a cement retaining wall around the trees, they could be saved. That’s in progress, if Lithia agrees to it.
I then typed up a petition to Save the Melalueca Trees of Redding and sent it out to my rather large email list, asking friends to gather signatures and mail it to Mr. DeMallie. It’s my contention that the three trees at the west end of the frontage road (Hemsted & Cypress) are interconnected root-wise, as are the two at the east end.
They’ve been in this location for at least 25 years. An arborist estimates them to be 40-60 years old, and have a valuation of $20-40,000 each, and provides an inestimable amount of oxygen to the area. They’re likely the only Melalueca trees in the north state. They’re native to Australia, evergreen and once a year provide a light pink bloom. Extracts of the tree are used for medicinal purposes, hair products and pest control.
I haven’t read the City of Redding Tree Ordinance lately, but I do believe they are within the parameters of the code. If you are tired of seeing large adult trees of Redding being removed, especially when engineers can do a re-alignment to save them, then consider sending a message to these key persons: Mark DeBoer, Lithia of Medford, 150 N.Bartlett, Medford OR 97501, 541.776.6401. Mr. DeMallie-Project Director, 530.225.4028. e: email@example.com and urge them to direct the engineer at OmniMeans to adjust the plans to accommodate the five melaleucas.
Thank You. Sincerely, Frank Treadway, Save The Trees of Redding: firstname.lastname@example.org
Frank Treadway lives in Redding. He has an AA in Psychology, BA in Sociology and MS in School Counseling. As a VISTA worker for two years in Redding, he helped relocate hundreds of homeless people from motels to their own domiciles. Frank is a veteran of six years in the California National Guard, and has traveled to more than 30 countries. Following in the interests of his distant relative, John Muir, Frank is passionate about the protection and retention of all trees, but especially of those in Redding and Shasta County.
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