Redwood Tree In The Middle Of SF Fights For Landmark Status

Redwood Tree In The Middle Of SF Fights For Landmark Status

the Redwood in question, photo by Wayne Freedman

the Redwood in question, photo by Wayne Freedman

A beautiful SF landmark is currently at the grips for it's legacy status thanks to a 96-year old woman and her resilience to budge.

Back in 1962, Meri Jaye planted a redwood sapling next to her house on 4 Montclair Terrace (near Lombard Street) to commemorate her husband and two children, who had died in an airplane accident.

With much dispute from neighbors, the tree has been claimed to be a potential hazard to the children in the area: citing that "the redwood could break and fall at any moment." But Jaye fought for the tree's survival, and last Friday, it was recoginzed for landmark status by the city’s Urban Forestry Council, in a unanimous vote. It will be one of only 21 landmarked locations in San Francisco. 

Meri Jaye emerging victorious at her hearing, photo via Help Preserve This San Francisco Redwood Tree/Facebook

Meri Jaye emerging victorious at her hearing, photo via Help Preserve This San Francisco Redwood Tree/Facebook

Though Jaye has made 6 rounds of hearing, this is her first official application when seeking to make the tree a national landmark of San Francisco. Jaye was mainly opposed by the Montclair Terrace Association and the Lombard Hill Improvement Association for going forward. At an October hearing covered by the Peninsula Press, resident Heidi Bioski brought up the woman paralyzed last August when a 100-pound tree branch fell on her in Washington Square Park. 

The neighbors fighting were “newcomers,” and probably didn’t “know the redwood forest.
— Meri Jaye

“The branches are huge and if the branches were to fall on my child, is that worth it? Is that worth anything?” asked Bioski, a mother of three children. “I don’t know why we would look to preserve a tree over a child.”

Jaye has also, wittyingly, cited that the occupants knew moving in that the redwood stands tall in the courtyard. She believes, stating: that they were likely fighting the tree’s landmark status because they wanted less obstructed views from their homes.

For now, the tree's landmark status will now go to the Dist. 2 Supervisor Mark Farrell and then to the Board of Supervisors for final approval. If approved, it will become illegal to alter or cut down the still-growing tree, unless it dies and becomes a hazard.

You go, Meri Jaye, you go!

10:07 a.m.* — We've contacted Anthony Valdez at SF Environment for further clarification on the number of landmark trees and the process so far with this particular incident. We appreciate the reader's who've chimed in with their facts. The article has been updated as such.


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