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Posted at 3:48 PM ET, 02/28/2011

NW resident persists in getting danger tree cut

By Akeya Dickson

Who got it done: Pepco and the District Department of Transportation
How long to fix it: 6 months

The good news is that Pepco and DDOT don't go around cutting trees down all willy-nilly. The bad news is that it took about six months for them to come cut down an ivy-covered poplar tree that the Daily Gripe reported was in danger of touching a power line after a spate of summer storms. The trunk of the tree was growing between two power lines in the 7900 block of Orchid Street.

Griper Richard Bellin followed up with us to say that his "persistence, perseverance, and just plain ornery stubbornness" paid off after contacting John Thomas at the District Department of Transportation in November and subsequently coordinating with Pepco.

Bellin said that Thomas assured him that the tree was healthy but sent two men to inspect it to "placate" him.

tree fixed.jpg
Pepco and DDOT decided to cut down this poplar tree, which was the tallest on its block on Orchid Street in NW, because it was growing dangerously close to two power lines.

"They spent quite a bit of time measuring the tree, hemming and hawing, and finally with obvious reluctance agreed the tree should be removed," Bellin said. "I think the fact that another tree had already fallen on a neighbor's house a few years ago helped them make the decision that this really was a danger tree."

Initially the tree dropped some limbs but seemed to be okay, said Thomas, who serves as the , associate director of the Urban Forestry Administration.

"There were roots issues under the sidewalk and in the front yard," he said. "Three of us worked together and decided it was no longer viable long term after the last limb failure."

Bellin got a notice from Pepco last week alerting him that the power would be out for a few hours so that the contractors could work safely. They showed up Feb. 15 at 9 a.m. and left a stump by 2:30 p.m. that will eventually be removed.

"Once in a blue moon it is possible to get something done in this dysfunctional city," he said.

After another limb failure we re-assessed the tree and decided it had gone over the tipping point, Thomas said.

"It really was just that the tree changed over the time we were working through this," he said.

By Akeya Dickson  | February 28, 2011; 3:48 PM ET
Categories:  Fixed, The Daily Gripe, The District  
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