Brent Seltzer said he strongly believes the large ficus trees that shaded a good portion of the intersection of Vineland Avenue and Ventura Boulevard could have been saved. He and his wife, Meg, fought for it for years and went to many agencies and departments to lobby to save them.
Over the last couple of days, the trees were inevitably cut down, stripped and shredded—the remaining pieces taken out on Friday as if nothing was ever there.
Estimated by the U.S. Forestry Service at nearly half a century old, the trees were being razed where a new Walgreens Drugs is being built—on the site of the former Morningstar Church of Studio City.
“There was a lot of regret watching the trees come down, it was like losing a longterm neighbor who is moving away after contributing so much to the neighborhood,” Selter said.
Francesca Corra of Dirt Diva Designs, along with Beth and Alan Dymond of the Studio City Residents Association were able to “pull a sliver lining over a dark cloud, by arranging to get the woodchip remnants of the ficus trees for use at the Oasis on Ventura Boulevard across from .”
The Oasis is the strip of land that has natural California plants growing in a park area that has benches and doggie bags and is maintained by the SCRA’s Beautification Committee.
Patch writer E.M. Fredric posted the sad end to the trees, noting: "At 12:45 p.m. today, I saw the trees that took years to grow, disintegrate like matchsticks falling down from men on ladders with electric saws. The local man in his motorized wheelchair watched from the gas station. Other patrons gathered with anger and heartbreak over once again, nature losing over corporate greed."
When one observer passed by and saw what was happening, he said, “I saw the trees being cut down today and it cut my soul.”
And Cary Baker, of Conqueroo, located nearby writes, the trees are “turned to sawdust. Welcome Walgreens.”
Seltzer said, “This is an example of bureaucracy causing the exact opposite of what is intended. The developer didn’t really want to cut down the trees, and they have been saved in other areas of the city in the same situation. Now they’re gone.”
Selter sighed, “Live goes on.”
(See a series of photos above of the trees before and after and now, along with the chips that Meg Seltzer is standing next to, courtesy of Bernt Seltzer. Click through the photo gallery of the trees in the .)