Another historic tree on the chopping block

Butte Environmental Council appealing anti-tree decision by Architectural Review & Historic Preservation Board

The towering valley oak tree at West Eighth and Salem streets is slated to be removed to make room for duplexes.

The towering valley oak tree at West Eighth and Salem streets is slated to be removed to make room for duplexes.

Photo by Christine G.K. LaPado-Breglia

Tearing down another beautiful historic tree
CN&R photo contributor Karen Laslo first gave me the heads-up on this one, followed by Butte Environmental Council board president Mark Stemen. It seems that the very huge—what some would term “heritage”—valley oak tree that lives in the vacant lot on the corner of Salem and West Eighth streets is slated for removal so that a couple of single-story duplexes can be built there.

Laslo explained on her blog, “The reason for [the tree’s] demise is to make way for a Chico State construction-management class project, headed up by Jim O’Bannon, for 2 side-by-side duplexes.” The go-ahead to remove the stately old tree (pictured) was given on Oct. 30, at a meeting of the city’s Architectural Review & Historic Preservation Board (ARHPB).

Stemen told me recently that BEC has appealed the ARHPB’s decision to remove the 48-inch-diameter tree.

“We believe that the project has not had adequate review by the public to date,” wrote BEC Executive Director Robyn DiFalco in the appeal, before pointing out that the Oct. 30 meeting was scheduled outside of the normal ARHPB meeting schedule: the first and third Wednesdays of the month. “The approval in question was made at a special meeting of the ARHPB held to suit the schedule of the applicant,” wrote DiFalco.

“More importantly,” she continued, “when the applicant held a ‘neighborhood meeting’ to share the proposal, participants understood that the big valley oak … would not be removed. However, the site plans presented to the ARHPB for approval showed the removal of all trees.”

Both DiFalco and Laslo wonder why an alternative building design, such as a two-story quadruplex, could not be built instead, in order to spare the lovely tree (and provide shade on what will certainly be a sweltering corner in mid-summer).

The appeal, said Stemen, likely will be heard at the group’s second December meeting (which, unless there is another “special” meeting called, should fall on Dec. 18).

Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago. –Warren Buffett

The third painted rock that showed up recently on the CN&R grounds. Mystery artist: Thank you so much—your anonymous goodwill is much appreciated!

christine g.k. lapado-breglia

Trivia for a good cause
It is not too late to put together a team to take part in the upcoming (seventh annual) Trivia Bee at Manzanita Place (1705 Manzanita Ave.) on Friday, Nov. 15.

“Grab some friends and compete against other local know-it-alls at this evening of fun, food and funding for Butte County Library Literacy Services,” says the promotional brochure for the event, which will also feature a raffle and a silent auction.

Doors open at 6 p.m.; event starts at 7 p.m. Call 538-7198 as soon as possible to register your (three-member) team; walk-in teams will be accepted, however. Cost to register a team is $300 (or more, if the team is so inclined); spectators pay $25. Go to for more info.

It is not the private interests of the individual that create lasting fellowship among men, but rather the goals of humanity. –The I Ching (Richard Wilhelm translation)