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Protesters don’t want 100 eucalyptus trees removed in Costa Mesa

September 21, 2011 | 12:45 pm

As crews worked Wednesday to remove 100 eucalyptus trees from the area where a motorist was killed by a felled tree, they were met by two protesters who want to save the trees.

"Obviously, this tragedy was horrible, but there might be a way to replant them, make them more stable," said Margie Dorney, a Newport Beach resident, who with her husband was protesting Newport Beach's decision to remove the trees for safety reasons from street medians along Irvine Avenue between Westcliff and Dover drives.

The cities of Newport Beach and Costa Mesa announced Tuesday evening that contractors were going to remove between 100 and 107 trees that arborists determined potentially unsafe. A 29-year-old Tustin woman was killed Thursday afternoon when a 10-ton eucalyptus tree fell on her car at Irvine Avenue, north of 17th Street.

The trees are technically inside Costa Mesa city limits, but Newport Beach has the contract to maintain the trees.

"It could very well be that there's a problem with the roots, I don't think we've done enough discovery yet to figure this out," said David Hayes, a 61-year Newport Beach resident who lives up the street from where the accident happened. "It just seems to me we need cooler heads to prevail."

Dorney said only about 15 trees were remaining when they arrived to protest Wednesday morning.


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-- Joseph Serna and Mike Reicher

Photo: A workman with a chainsaw helps with the removal of old trees along Irvine Avenue Costa Mesa in the wake of the recent death of a passing motorist who was killed by a fallen tree. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times