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26 Trees Along Freeway to Be Saved

September 24, 1998|PAULA PISANI

Crews have begun cutting eucalyptus trees along the Ventura Freeway at Rose Avenue, but a compromise will save 26 of 48 slated for removal.

In all, 22 trees will be cut down and the rest, many more than 80 feet tall, will only be trimmed, city and California Department of Transportation officials said.

The two agencies cite drainage and public safety as the reasons to cut the trees down or trim them back. The $122,000 project, which began this week, is part of the new Rose Avenue interchange, which includes construction of a new bridge over the freeway and new on- and offramps.

Don Rodrigues, an arborist under contract with the city, determined that 20 trees posed a safety hazard because they were decayed, weak or leaning over the freeway. Two trees are being cut down because they would interfere with construction.

Oxnard City Manager Ed Sotelo said that the agreement to keep more than half of the trees will benefit the area.

"We said there was a better way. Why destroy trees that are 100 years old?" Sotelo said. The city also will plant 194 young trees in the project area this winter.

But saving only 26 trees has not gone over well with some residents.

Linda Reaves, who lives at the Royal Duke Estates mobile home park next to the project, said she hears the sounds of trees being cut down every morning, trees that block the noise and pollution from the freeway.

"I can't deal with getting up in the morning and hearing those chain saws," Reaves said.

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